News in Brief: OnTheMarket, Starling Bank, Purplebricks & More (28/07)

Andrew Stanton looks at OnTheMarket’s annual statement, Starling Bank’s new acquisition, and Purplebricks one million shares giveaway.

Daily bite-sized proptech and real estate news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking.


OnTheMarket give an upbeat annual general meeting statement

OnTheMarket has issued an upbeat statement outlining its financial successes this year, saying that its financial year to 31 January 202 was “a year of strong performance and considerable progress.”

Christopher Bell, OnTheMarket’s Non-Executive Chair, said: “We were delighted to achieve our first year of profitability since admission to AIM, notwithstanding the onset and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is particularly pleasing to report that, from the foundations established, our strong performance has continued in the current year with further operational progress made and trading in line with the Board’s expectations.

“We have a clear vision in place to build a differentiated, technology-enabled property business providing services for agents, housebuilders, advertisers, and consumers that offers ‘best in class’ products and platforms across the broader property marketplace.”

Starling Bank buys Fleet Mortgages for £50 million

Starling Bank has taken its first foray into the mortgage nexus, acquiring specialist lender Fleet Mortgages. The business, which provides mortgages to landlords via intermediaries, has turned over more than £2 billion.

The significance of the deal is that Fleet Mortgages will now have access to the huge capital in Starling to improve its offering. Starling benefits too. Through their new acquisition, they’ll be able to access the mortgage market.

Anne Boden, CEO of Starling, said: “The acquisition of Fleet Mortgages is the start of our move into mortgages as an asset class and builds on a number of forward-flow arrangements that we’re doing with leading non-bank lenders.

“Fleet’s existing management team will remain in place and Fleet will continue to operate as a stand-alone company, keeping the original name and brand. We’re buying Fleet because it is very good at what it does, not because we want to change it.”

Starling is a challenger bank in the sense it is a digital bank of only seven years old. Its core business to date has been current accounts and business accounts.

Completions could increase by over 25% in 2021  

Despite lockdown, furlough, the pandemic, and other factors, it looks as though the upward trajectory of completions is set to continue unabated.

The number of completed properties recorded at HM Land Registry in 2021 is around 1.37 million. In preceding years, a typical figure hovers around the one million completions mark. The high tide for completions in the UK was in 1988 when over two million homes were sold.

Purplebricks CEO & CFO to receive one million shares

The Purplebricks annual report recently revealed a bonus scheme for executives if they meet certain objectives.

Although CEO Vic Darvey and CFO Andy Botha had to take a 20% salary snip for three months due to the pandemic, they have both landed an eye-watering allotment of shares.

Darvey and Botha have scooped 735,437 and 307,500 Purplebricks shares, respectively. The shares can be cashed after three years, subject to performance.

Purplebricks news the annual account revealed CEO and CFO in line for huge shares payout.
Source: Purplebricks

Property scarcity is hindering the market

In other news, many agents are complaining that the amount of stock coming to the market is at a seasonal all-time low, a sentiment backed by intel from the major portals.

The data can be interpreted in two ways. If there is little inventory coming to the market, then prices remain high and buoyant. The counterargument is that the public is not listing properties.

This could be because the people who wanted to move have brought forward their plans due to the SDLT holiday. We’ll likely see just a trickle of buyers and sellers in the Autumn as the market normalises.

Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR and Proptech-X. He grows proptech companies using his influence from decades of industry experience and is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations.

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