A leading City analyst has released an incendiary report into portal juggling, warning investors that many agents including dozens of high street names use it to appear busier than they are on Rightmove.
Well-known names on the lists include many of the UK’s high profile agents including Countrywide, Foxtons, Chancellors, Humberts and Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward while the online-only and hybrids agents highlighted include HouseSimple, eMoov, Yopa, Purplebricks and Tepilo.
The report, which was compiled with the help of Robert May’s Rummage4 software, also reveals that although portal juggling is widespread across the industry, it is more prevalent among hybrids than traditional agents.
Research by Jefferies Group LLP, which has 3,300 employees and offices in 30 cities across the world, reveals that although hybrid agents have 4% of the market, they account for nearly a third of the top 50 juggled properties.
Of all agents that have juggled ten or more properties, hybrid agents account for 41% of all juggles while traditional agents, who have 96% of the market, account for 59% of juggles.
The Jefferies report also reveals that Purplebricks has a sale agreed/listing ratio of 89.5% in contrast with Countrywide’s 60.2%, LSL’s 50.6% and Foxtons’ 48.8%, and asks whether portal juggling is helping Purplebricks achieve such stunning figures.
Jefferies says it is looking into this question, but in the meantime has published a list of what it says are the UK’s top 50 portal juggling branches and agents, as well as examples of juggled properties including a two-bedroom, end-of-terrace home in Worcester Park, south London marketed by Barnard Marcus. Jefferies says its status changed 52 times between 11 December 2016 and 3 March 2017.
In the report Jefferies defines juggling as status changes between For Sale, Under Offers and SoldSTC, relisting, dopplegangers where a property is listed twice and properties that are listed for only short periods.