One-third of UK estate agents at risk of closure

| April 14, 2008
”One-third

Property specialist, Movewithus, is predicting that one-third of the UK’s estate agents could close this year.

The forecast comes as house sales continue to decline and the Council of Mortgage Lenders expects home loans to be cut by 50% this year, unless lenders receive addition support from the Bank of England.

Movewithus, which is a network of independent estate agencies, estimates that around 4,000 of the country’s 12,000 property agents are at risk as a direct result of the credit crisis.

Robin King, director of the firm, explains that sales within his network have dropped by between 30% and 50%.

According to Mr King, some estate agents have already started making staff redundant and offices that are performing poorly are being closed.

One Norfolk estate agency, the Property Shop, has shut nine of its ten offices this month, with the loss of around 30 jobs.

However, it is understood that the Bank of England is reconsidering the range of assets it will hold as security for loans to banks and building societies.

Currently the bank is only prepared to lend against “prime” mortgage assets and has discounted assets that lenders regard as sound, even if they are less than “prime”.

The bank may also increase the amount of money it makes available over three-months, rather than offering shorter-term lending.

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