The Negotiator has spoken to an estate who competes locally with Howard Cundey, the estate agent that today announced its high street operation is to be wound up after 50 years.
Howard Cundey, which has ten branches across Surrey, Sussex and Kent, today announced that although its high street operation would had been unable to adapt to market changes, its existing hybrid/online operation would continue.
One agent who competes with its branch in Forest Row in Sussex but who doesn’t want to be identified, says the writing had been on the wall for some time and that three offices were due to be closed this year even if the firm had not decided to throw the towel in on the high street.
“We’ve had a big problem in this area because Howard Cundey some time ago decided to go hybrid and list properties for £600,” he says.
“So for two years now we’ve had virtually no stock but I think they realised it wasn’t going well; many of their best staff had already left.
“We’ve been playing a waiting game to see if they would either go back to being realistic on fees or go under.
“Their Oxted office has always been very profitable so we thought that would help plug the gaps in their business for a bit longer.”
Howard Cundey Live, which is to continue trading, offers a smorgasbord of hybrid and online options to vendors including online only for £599, a premium upfront fee of £975, a ‘pay later’ fee of £1,500 and a no sale, no fee option.
Confusion between its hybrid and high street operations prompted a complaint to the advertising watchdog the ASA recently.