The Commercial Lending Crisis

The Commercial Lending Crisis

My last article was about how the high street banks are failing to provide an acceptable level of service to their current account holders. However, their is a bigger problem still with the banks and that is that they are no longer prepared to lend money to business owners on acceptable terms. Until a few…

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What Are Banks For?

What Are Banks For?

Almost everyone has a story to tell about their bank and very few of their stories are positive ones.    It didn’t used to be this way. I remember clearly the day that I opened my first bank account. I was 12 years old and my father took me to open a child account at the…

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Are you ready for Labour’s Tax bombs?

Are you ready for Labour’s Tax bombs?

When I started work in 1979 , the top rate of tax was 98%: 83% income tax plus a 15% surcharge on investment income. If you don’t believe me then Google it! I wasn’t earning enough in those early days to pay this tax rate myself but my boss was and he seemed to spend…

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Why Is Foxtons So Undervalued?

Why Is Foxtons So Undervalued?

I continue to be astonished by how little the stock market values Foxtons. Its market capitalization is currently just £168 million but its value for break up is clearly so much more than this. We are regularly selling managed letting businesses in London for two times turnover or more. Foxtons letting business turns over £100…

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What impact will an agency sector dominated by mega-businesses have on us independents?

Adam Walker (right), a well-known broker who specialises in selling letting businesses, recently wrote a very interesting piece about the consolidation of the lettings industry where he forecast “that within the next five to ten years the lettings market will be dominated by a small number of mega-businesses with independent agents becoming increasingly rare”. If…

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A Huge Vote Of Confidence In The Letting Market

A Huge Vote Of Confidence In The Letting Market

The recent sales of Stirling Ackroyd, Chestertons and Alexander & Co represents a huge vote of confidence in the UK letting market. Despite endless articles about the decline of the buy to let market, it seems that a private equity fund and a large European property conglomerate still have enough confidence in the sector to…

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Are Letting Agents Responsible For Rent Increases?

Adam J Walker - Are Letting Agents Responsible For Rent Increases?

Letting agents are now regularly being accused of profiteering from the shortage of rental property by pushing up rent. This is an absurd allegation but it is worth looking at what factors are responsible for the huge increases that we have seen in property rents over the last few years. The answer of course is…

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Why You Need Cyber Insurance

Why You Need Cyber Insurance

Almost every day I read a story about an organization that has been the victim of a cyber-attack.  One of the UKs largest conveyancing solicitors suffered such a devastating attack last year that it virtually closed down their business for many weeks. One of the London boroughs was unable to provide property search information to…

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Don’t Forget The Customer

I don’t usually write about the same subject twice but this subject is an important one which is very relevant to letting agents and a lot has changed since I wrote about it last year.  The topic is the rapid consolidation of the veterinary sector. Over 50% of all veterinary practices are now owned by…

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The ULEZ Threat

I keep reading articles about the desperate shortage of rental accommodation in London and the spiralling rents. This is of course caused by the usual issues. Increased mortgage costs for landlords, new compliance legislation, savage fines for minor breaches of the compliance rules, the ending of Section 21 and the huge cost of complying with…

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