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countrywide PLC sees a direct threat from online real estate agents like for like ?

Connells Group a  traditional high street estate agency, and part of country wide plc portfolio ,  has acquired online estate agent hatched ,com . is an online estate agent that has established" itself " as a no nonsense fixed fee selling approach for selling homes in the uk.

Earlier in the year Alison Platt CEO of country wide PLC [ the largest high street agency in he uk] was questioned, why the online property sector, was performing much better than the traditionally bricks and mortar business. Platt stated that they where not like for like business ,which is a contradiction of today's acquisition by one of it's brands. will continue to trade under its existing brand with founder and managing director Adam Day remaining in charge of operations.

According to estate agency comparison website GetAgent, the Hatched service currently has 903 active listings representing only 0.13 per cent share of the market based on GetAgent’s analysis of property sales data taken from Rightmove and Zoopla.

Over 50 high street Branded high street estate agents make up Countrywide plc  [including Connells group]. what remains perplexing is Connells management, went on to state "I can confirm that this acquisition does not signal a shift away from traditional high street estate agency practices and values by Connells." 

Interested to know what it does signify, then?

Connells says Hatched will “bring complementary capabilities including first-hand knowledge and experience of this developing sector” and will “expand Connells into towns and cities not currently covered by its existing estate agency operation and will see Hatched become an integral part of the Connells network.

A statement from Connells chief executive David Livesey reads: "The acquisition of Hatched represents a natural progression towards further enhancing our online proposition and wholly complements our strategy to expand our high street footprint.

By dragging on a charade and trying to make good city headlines , this acquisition reinforces the demand by the consumer that they prefer a fixed rate commission , to a commission based fee for selling their homes.The consumer will be very confused with country wide plc , how they will justify commission based fee, for their 50 or so high street brands, with the addition of, storm clouds are on the horizon.

Emoov , last month also stated that the countrywide CEO was not interested in buying or acquiring a online estate agent and technology alone will not transform Countrywide. The correct response to the invention of the motor car was not just to try to make your horse run faster.

Meanwhile , purplebricks the 4th largest UK estate agent , using online business model of selling and letting homes ,has expanded into Scotland. It has been valued at upto £250m after strong sounding from the city.

Connells Group full statement can be seen here on acquiring found here

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