PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’ Weekly Roundup: Zoopla | FocalAgent | Bamboo Auctions

Daily bite-sized proptech and real estate news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking. Today, Andrew Stanton looks at Zoopla, FocalAgent, Bamboo Auctions and more.

Natwest reviews mortgage criteria for self-employed grant users

At present, Natwest will not lend to self-employed individuals who took advantage of the government-backed Covid relief SEISS grant. The self-employment income support scheme was put in place to help those most in need during the pandemic. 

August is the timeframe that Natwest has chosen to deliver any changes, though it does seem that in troubled times some lenders take a very hard line. It will be interesting to see if Revolut, which is not a bank per se, looks to go into the mortgage business and what barriers they would choose to put up to deter those looking for housing finance.

Zoopla: One in five homes increased in value by over £35,000 in last year

The latest figures from Zoopla, the UK’s second-largest property portal, show that 21% of properties have outstripped the average salary in the UK.

Andy Marshall, CCO at Zoopla, said: “There has been strong demand from home buyers since the market reopened after the first lockdown in May last year, compounded by the search for space and the stamp duty holiday.”

FocalAgent says homes with professional marketing packs sell twice as quick 

FocalAgent, part of the LSL Group, analysed over 3,500 properties across a number of months, and the result was that those with enhanced marketing at the outset, around 48%, achieved a sale in half the time of those homes that had normal marketing.

They felt that homes with 360-degree tours, professional floorplans, expert photography, and targeted digital marketing not only sold more quickly but at a better value, typically £1,600 more. 

Lee Wainwright, CEO of Focal Agent, said: “Consumer expectations have changed permanently, and this is what will drive the adoption of professional property marketing over the long term… particularly tools such as… guided virtual viewings.”  

Bamboo Auctions raises £1.1million for its online auction tech

Bamboo Auctions has scooped a £1.1million funding injection, led by RO Capital Partners and the Cass Enterprise Fund. The online auction platform, which launched in 2015 and has recently entered into a partnership with Rightmove, enables faster and more transparent sales of properties through its marketplace.

Edward Rowlandson, Group Managing Director of the RO, said: “We are hugely excited by Bamboo, its offering, and its use of technology to innovate the real estate market. Robin and his team have demonstrated that, even though it is still in its early stages, Bamboo has a winning business strategy and great growth potential…”

To stay relevant in a market growing rapidly in competitiveness, Bamboo Auctions will use its latest round of funding to implement new features and integrations while strengthening its customer service operations.

Rightmove says it has the tools to speed up tenant referencing by 20%

As the portals spin forward with lots of new proptech features Christian Balshen, head of lettings at Rightmove, announced that “letting agents are busier than ever, and so we’re investing in speeding up the process to help make a move-in as easy as possible.

“Our unique referencing platform already allows agents to start referencing through their CRM and our re-designed referencing platform aims to improve the process even further.”  

Balshen is referring to the fact that Rightmove is now rolling out its “rent in five” strategy, building upon its Landlord & Tenant Service. 

In partnership with Estate Agent Networking

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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