Investors home in on listing UK estate agents
The investors behind a handful of British estate agents are looking to take their companies public, encouraged by the strong performance of European property stocks and an election that removed much of the uncertainty from the UK housing market.
Purplebricks and easyProperty are seeking to harness demand from funds with limited tools for tapping into a thriving residential property market.
With equity markets strong and house prices still on the up, these new kids on the block offer a less risky way into the UK's £5.75trn (€8.06trn) residential property market than speculating on bricks and mortar, fund managers said.
Next year, about 1.3m houses are expected to change hands in the UK, up from 1.18m last year, according to property services company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL.N).
The Conservative party's unexpectedly decisive victory in the May 7 general election has added impetus to a market that was already forecast to improve on the back of low mortgage rates and economic growth. The opposition Labour party, neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in pre-election polls, had pledged measures which could have cooled demand, including an annual tax on high-value properties.
"Housing volumes should pick up quite materially from here on, now that people have clarity on who's going to be governing us for the next five years or so," said Jamie Wilson, who runs the AXA Framlington Blue Chip Equity fund.