News: Traditional Agents 'running scared'

Wed, 05 Sep 07

A leading estate agency has conceded that property auctions pose a serious threat to traditional agents...

Foxtons have admitted that Humraz – the unique website which sells properties for less than 5% of their value – poses a threat to UK estate agents.

Currently at Humraz auction is a £180k two bed flat in Woking, which will sell for less than £9k. The lowest unique (i.e. unmatched) bid will win the auction. The concept works by charging participants £3 to submit a bid. This charge is pooled into a syndicate to cover the cost of the property and ‘status messages’, which give bidders guidance on the progress of their bids.

Foxtons’ Jamie Heath has confirmed the company is monitoring Humraz’s progress. “It could be a threat to estate agents,” he says. “For a buyer it seems a fairly good bet.”

Figures released this week by Office for National Statistics show that housing accounts for 59% of the country’s assets (nearly £4trillion). The news is little consolation to the legions of first time buyers being

squeezed out of the property market.

Asmat Monaghan, founder of Humraz, suggests that “estate agents act as gatekeepers to an exclusive real estate club whereas Humraz is designed to let first-time buyers in the back door. It’s little wonder estate agents such as Foxtons have taken notice of us.”

Humraz will donate the equivalent of Foxtons’ commission – 2.5% of the value of any property they auction (not the purchase price) – to the charity Warchild UK.

For further information, images and interviews with Humraz directors and participants, please contact:

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