Halifax Estate Agents to close 53 branches
HBOS is closing 53 branches of it Halifax estate agency.
The banking group, which owns leading UK mortgage lender, Halifax, recently reported a 72% fall in first-half profit and has also been embarrassed by its £4 billion fundraising, which attracted the support of only 8% of shareholders.
It is now in the process of reviewing its business, no doubt taking into account its own prediction that property prices will fall by up to 20% over 2008 and 2009 combined.
Estate agents have been early casualties of the credit crisis.
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the average number of property sales completed by its members plummeted to 14.4, or less than five a month, over the three months to the end of July.
In the short-term the decline looks set to continue as large numbers of potential first-time buyers either cannot afford or secure a mortgage or remain in waiting until they are confident that the market has bottomed out.
Halifax Estate Agents was formed in 1989 and is one of the largest and best known estate agents in the UK.
No details of branch closures have been released although the group says it will in future be focusing its efforts on core markets in the Midlands and North, where it has 151 outlets.
The majority of staff affected by the closures will be transferred to similar roles in the group’s banks. However, around 100 job losses are expected.