Anthony Hilton: Why this is one housing market to stay out of
Saturday 08 June 2013
If the way to stay young is to keep repeating your mistakes then the London investment community will surely be blessed with perpetual youth if it buys into the flotation of Foxtons.
The London estate agent announced yesterday that it hoped soon to obtain a stock market listing. It is déjà vu all over again. Every cycle sees a rush of estate agency flotations and they always end in tears.
There are some businesses which should not be listed companies and estate agents are one of them. Their income is linked to the property cycle so is horribly volatile. It is of dubious quality because even in good times there is always a rival who willing to do it cheaper. It is a people business, in a business whose people are disloyal. Every boom sees the best sales teams leave their employer and start up in competition across the street. There are no assets to speak of and no customer loyalty. And finally it is an intermediary when the internet allows people to bypass intermediaries and their extortionate commissions.
The technology means estate agents must surely soon follow travel agents, motor insurance brokers and other like-minded souls down the path to oblivion.
All this does help explain why the owners, a private equity house known as BC Partners, might want to sell. It does not explain why anyone would want to buy.
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...