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Countrywide PLC UKs largest Real Estate Agency - Alison Platt CEO Let The Battle Commence Online

Countrywide’s [CW UK's largest estate agency]  management restructuring continues , with new changes targeted at “leveraging our combined sales and lettings offering through one cohesive retail team” according to an announcement from the company. Last week saw “Chief Digital Officer Alex Bailes stepping down the Countrywide  whose remit was to plan the organisation’s digital future ,  days after he was discussing details of a vision for ‘hybrid’ estate agencies.

[CW]“In order to create a One Countrywide Retail team Sam Tyrer, Managing Director for Retail, has appointed three Divisional Managing Directors. These roles will be instrumental in bringing together the two businesses to create a seamless customer facing experience.

“In addition, three further key appointments have been created, Retail Commercial Director, Retail Programme Director and Retail Performance Director, reporting to Sam. These roles will enable us to quickly gain momentum in a competitive market place and assess areas to support and drive performance.

“Also, 12 Retail Directors have been appointed for the North, Midlands and South, reporting into the three Divisional Managing Directors. With the restructure, the intention was to retain our strong industry expertise whilst at the same time providing our internal talent with a platform for growth and the Group is pleased to confirm this has been achieved.”

Michael Luck and Jonathan Simpson have been appointed as Divisional Managing Directors for the North and Midlands respectively - the MD for the South will be announced at a later date.

Bruce Evans has been appointed Retail Commercial Director; Margaret Longden as Retail Programme Director; and Pete Wallace as Retail Performance Director.

Last week country wide gave a presentation on Capital Markets to the city see below

Alison Platt CEO

Countrywide London Business Unit Capital Markets 

Countrywide CEO Alison Platt Building our Future our growth strategy HD 

Countrywide Research Director Johnny Morris on Countrywide's view of the UK property market HD

+onthemarket blog comment

Looking at the CW presentations, you gather that mortgages and focus on London, will be key business drivers for countrywide PLC .From now until 2020 CW they forecast short term house price growth slow, more growth over in sales in 2016 , next couple of years , with lettings giving them 2 x national average lettings fee in London. Though on-line estate agents are already letting property at a national fixed rate , without the finders fee !.With the Housing crises in London,  the suited and booted corporate image esp in London does not fit well PR wise / public perception . 

Housing association up in arms over lack of appropriate stock add to this Housing with multiple occupancies haven risen 30 % in last decade. It does not bode well for charging high lettings fees in the capital or national, post 2007 economic climates have brought a wind of change , what is acceptable to charge. Moving forward when green shoots do wash ashore 4 / 5 years from now, it will be ingrained in consumerism / millennial generations ,group-on clans and poundlands brigades that the bargains are a birth right . Looking 10 years from now, business models such as airbnb and uber will be a default lifestyle.

If  43 % of stamp duty for residential property sales comes from London , surely Bell is missing the point ,the remaining 67 % nationally?. This is in stark contrast to on-line estate agents  who aren't building their strategy concentrically. Recently high end agency Savills warned  Prime Central London’s housing market will stagnate with no price growth at all next year and near foreseeable future.

Even in 2017 price growth will be only 2.0 per cent says the high-end agency

emoov purplebricks easyproperty housesimple hatched teplio iamtheagent sellmyhomeonline propertydetective , urbansalesandlettings  and thehomecloud   [ phew  ;) " breath"the list goes on ]  all are growing nationally albeit "steady" stable pace.

How ever ,large high street agency chains, Connells group and Belvoir ,having recently bagged acquisitions or expansion  [ Connells 18 branch independent agency chain Gascoigne Halmanor / Belvoir has announced new franchise owners and an upgraded target to have 400 offices across the UK in the next decade]. Recent data published by British property federation, points to business rates having a heavy expense on commercial high street retail business, unless this lowers over coming years ,it will be difficult for these firms, to justify expansion at a later date, providing the high street economy, remains fragile.

Mortgages , interest rate rises will not be happening soon , Mark Carney has stated that hike increase is unlikely to be happening until mid /late 2016. The adoption of online conveyancing searchflow veyo hoowla , comparison sites like uswitch and moneysavingexpert will make for tough times ahead. 
Major banks and building societies, are already farming out these services, to consumer switching sites .

Mark Mullen CEO of Atom Bank 

What's not to stop online estate-agencies teaming up with a new generation of "online lenders" like Virgin, Metro, Aldermore and Atom? for  selling financials products mortgages,homes loans ? a great way for these lenders to piggy back off [online estate agents ] and scale up / [ you scratch my back and i'll scratch yours ].Atom Bank was started in June of this year , it has no branches just an app.
So have traditional banks  started their planning already?. Recent city activity, 5 % threshold disclosure of country wide stocks,now  owned by traditional traditional bank.

click here for detail 

This will allow financial institutions cost effective scale up and geographical footprint , why bother selling mortgages on the high street, when they can be accessed 24/7 online.?

The cogitating and digestion of yearly results , need quick ...implementation, internal team reshuffling are not adequate, though commendable. With the economy and the real estate industry, inextricable joined at the hip, these and other challenges, lay ahead for the countrywide CEO.
.Fortunately a  critical step, in the right direction has been adopted by Alison Platt, in embracing the digital age unlike many onthemarket... and welcoming the online business model   ,only time will tell, if  her fightback for Countrywide PLC is fulfilled.If 50% growth over the coming 5 years is forecast, watch out for acquisitions and mergers on Horizon ?. 
The Tech industry is a fast fluid dynamic environment , fresh thinking allows transformation and change though from people who know the tech industry rather than a grouping from bricks and mortar background. An accountant can not run a garage without her or his mechanics on the shop floor.     

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comments welcomed, in the section below [ thanks for reading ;) ]