Former Apprentice Shuts Chiswick Estate Agency

Local property expert believes this could be the first closure of many


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The Haus Properties estate agency fronted by Jamie Lester, a former contestant in the BBC's 'The Apprentice', has closed its local branch without any warning.

Haus moved out of 229 Chiswick High Road on 9 July and has is conducting any remain local business from its Fulham branch. Despite a number of requests for comment behind the sudden move, we have not received a reply from Mr Lester or the company.

jamie lester of haus properties

When it opened in 2011 Haus Properties boasted it challenged the traditional view of estate agency, offering an "outstanding, honest and friendly service" with it's 'home styled' office and free coffee.

Local estate agent Christian Harper of Harper Finn had predicted closures among his competitors last May before the Brexit vote and there is now increased local speculation that Haus Properties will be the first of several branches to close in the area. There is anecdotal evidence of shortage of supply, prices being dropped and a sharp fall in the number of transactions taking place.

Chiswick estate agents have had a tough two weeks following Brexit with some deals collapsing and others having to be re-negotiated, according to one local agent who predicted that the days of the high street office in W4 were 'doomed'.

the now closed haus office

The Haus office is closed

Christian said, "Although I feel sorry for any staff that may now find themselves without work I am not at all surprised to hear that Haus have ‘moved themselves’ from the High Road. The model of high street estate agents is doomed as property web sites like Rightmove allow estate agents that charge a few hundreds pounds as much chance of providing the same buyers as the agents that charge tens of thousands."

He said that he believed that things would improve for the market with the new government and recent stabilisation of the FTSE but added, "Why does Chiswick needs so many estate agents with offices packed with public school drop-outs and tonnes of people who just want a job that gives them a free car?

"Within the next five years most of the corporate estate agent chains will move away from Turnham Green Terrace as they have very little to justify the huge fees they are currently charging to cover rents and shopfronts and provide very little or even nothing extra to the client.

"Walnut Veneer desks and fresh flowers in the shop window don’t get you more money for your house so please don’t pay +£50k for the privilege!"

He said after working in Chiswick for close to twenty-five years, customers would opt for long-term local agents such as Andrew Nunn & Co and James Matthews form Whitman & Co who had experience and knowledge.

"Sensible, commercial clients are moving whilst poorly advised overpriced clients bounce from one desperate estate agent to another ignoring the elephant in the room whilst still dreaming of 2026 prices in 2016. Its not about selling high and buying low currently, its about selling well and buying well.”

Andrew Nunn said, "The outlook for many markets, including the property market remains uncertain and with uncertainty comes indecision and short termism. The high entry costs to buying property means that many speculative buyers have withdrawn from the market until there is evidence of the post Brexit dust settling. That said in the last few weeks we are achieving sales on property that is correctly priced and selling to home owners, rather than investor buyers, as homeowners generally take a longer view.

"I think the market will stabilise after the summer break and buyers will come back to the market to take advantage of low mortgage rates and a little more choice. For the market to gain some momentum it will need a number of our competitors to stop promising clients figures (values) that simply will not be achieved. I also feel that the new chancellor has the opportunity to re visit the various punitive tax changes made in the last twelve months (specifically the last stamp duty amendments of November 2015) and those proposed for landlords next year which have undoubtedly reduced transactional turnover in the market.”

The housing market has faced recent challenges from both lack of stock and a decline in buyer interest fuelled by political uncertainty, according to the latest report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). New buyer enquiries have declined significantly across the UK in June, with 36% more chartered surveyors nationally reporting a fall in interest - this is the lowest reading since mid-2008. 

London remains the only region where respondents are seeing prices fall (-46% net balance) with this largely being concentrated in the central zones. That said, near term price expectations are now in negative territory across the whole of the UK with 27% more respondents across the UK expecting to see prices fall rather than rise over the next three months. 

Over the next 12 months the dip in prices is only expected to persist in London and East Anglia (net balances of -39% and -34% respectively) and longer term, prices are still expected to rise, albeit a little less than previously anticipated, with a cumulative increase of 14% projected for the next five years.



July 19, 2016

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