PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: RICS | Let Alliance | Landlord Tax

In today’s news, Andrew Stanton looks at the impending RICS review led by Alison Levitt QC, Let Alliance’s latest digital leap, and the September market waiting game.

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

It’s high noon for RICS as Sean Tompkins exits

At noon today, it is very likely that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors will never be the same again.

According to a RICS representative, it will be publishing an independent review conducted by Alison Levitt QC, at noon, Thursday 9th September. 

The representative said: “We will be holding a press conference at that time, to be addressed by Nick Maclean, Chair of the Governing Council’s steering committee for the review, and Alison Levitt QC, which can also be viewed by members and RICS employees.” 

Rumour has it that ahead of the event, Sean Tompkins, the head man who was famously paid over £500,000 – including a hefty bonus – at the same time 140 people were made redundant, has now (like Elvis) left the building. 

Though Tompkins’ departure may be a coincidence, the fact that Nick Maclean is talking to the press might be to iron out a few wrinkles thrown up in the 400-pages of closely typed report that took months to produce.

To recap, four directors were ejected from RICS at the point an alarm had been raised with regards to alleged fraud.

No doubt this story is going to run and run. The bigger question here is who will make up the new C-suite, and how angry will the rank and file of RICS be once they fully understand what has or has not been going on?

The very fact that this matter has been gently simmering away for two years is somewhat dispiriting. All too often we see companies use gagging procedures to save the blushes of those who should know better.

Things have been awfully quiet around the RICS camp. It’ll soon get very, very loud.

Alison Levitt QC - RICS news
Alison Levitt QC (Source: 2 Hare Court | London Barristers Chambers)

Let Alliance strides further into the digital age

Andy Halstead, CEO of Let Alliance, has just unveiled yet another offering where the digital transformation of manual processes are automated and the validation of who you are dealing with and their actual financial status is now transparent as a result of open banking. 

It has been reported that the new Vision+ portal will still have a sprinkle of ‘human’ in it, but it will make all of those repetitive procedures and tasks move forward at pace. 

It is increasingly the case that the lettings vertical seems to be moving forward by leaps and bounds while the residential agency seems slow to adopt.

Yes, residential agents love their CRMs, but there is so much more digital kit out there that could eliminate those tedious, repetitive processes, day after day.

It is time to get off that hamster wheel and let SaaS do all of that.

Property News

The September property market is a waiting game

Now that the children have gone back to school, the housing market usually enters a six-week dash to list and sell new housing stock that traditionally comes on until mid-October. The problem being, there only seems to be a trickle of property coming to the market. Surprise, surprise, it all has a big-ticket value.

The country seems to be entering a very different marketplace for property. Scarcity and sky-high aspirations on the part of vendors have made it so…until of course they sell and need to buy their next home.

But with the Bank of England base rate still at 0.1% and mortgage rates at an all-time low, there is plenty of cheap money going around to buy property. Maybe the new home sector will help the autumn market despite the Secretary of Housing believing that 300,000 new homes a year is a number that should be on the cards by 2025.

As we know all too well, the supply chain of building materials are on a 26-week wait, and the lack of trades to do the builds means it will be a brisk market as and when homes become available.  

Things can change quickly though, and in a week’s time after the sunshine fades and rain starts to pour, maybe there will be a flurry of new inventory to the market. Though from the look of things, most folk moving in 2021 have already done so or will do soon, completing at the end of June or the end of September.

Also, with the Chancellor’s budget late in October, an awful lot of investment buyers and landlords may well bide their time. Until landlords learn what new taxes they may have to pay to plug the country’s financial shortfall, they may well sit on their hands.

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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