Purplebricks claims to sell most homes but sceptics want to see evidence


Online estate agent Purplebricks has claimed to sell three times more properties than the next largest estate agent, but can we ignore its pre-tax losses and falling share prices?

Claiming to revolutionise the homebuying and selling process, the online estate agent seems to have seen some major success since its launch in 2012, and has just posted gross UK profits of £45.1m, on revenue of £78.1m.

It also claims to have sold (subject to contract) 3.1 times the number of homes compared to the next top estate agent over the last financial year – but as it has not provided any solid figures or evidence to back this up, some critics are questioning whether Purplebricks is really as successful as it insists.

How is Purplebricks unique?

The idea behind the business model is to offer a lower cost service to customers by removing the traditional offices (and often flashy company cars) associated with many high street agents. Purplebricks charges an upfront fee to list a property rather than taking commission on sale, and sellers can opt to pay an additional £300 for the company to also handle property viewings.

Vendors can expect to pay from £849 to sell their homes, or £1,199 in London, compared to average high street agents‘ commission rates of 1.3% plus VAT, which typically equates to £3,900 on a £250,000 home.

Group chief executive Michael Bruce said: “We have doubled revenues in tough markets, taking market share as we continue to win over consumers to the modern way of buying and selling property.

“As the latest independent UK research by TwentyCi released in July 2018 shows, we sell more of our properties and complete faster than any of the top 10 largest agencies in the country, saving consumers thousands of pounds in the process.”

“We are confident that Purplebricks’ market leadership will continue, given the strength of its brand, the continuing investment into team, technology and processes and our £153m war chest for global growth, following the strategic investment by Axel Springer.”

Questioning the figures

However, according to its figures, the company actually made pre-tax losses of £26.1m in the year to April, up from £6m the year before, with operating losses of £11.8m in Australia and £16m in the US, while UK operating profits rose to £6.5m.

Anthony Codling, city analyst at Jefferies, believes the Purplebricks model remains unproven based on its recent performance and falling share price, which lost 4.7% of its value to 303.65p in early trading.

He said: “Purplebricks continues to tell us it sells lots of houses, without backing up that rhetoric with actual figures. Sold Subject to Contract does not mean sold.

“Perhaps more telling is that the number of UK LPEs (local property experts) is now lower than it was six months ago. If the model is the lifeboat for a sinking high street does the lifeboat itself have a leak?”

Highgrove Mews

High Net Yield Freehold Houses

  • Commutable to London (27 mins to central Paddington station)
  • Rental demand extremely strong with large industry presence in Reading
  • Freehold with 4% net yield

£284,955 - £457,000

St Petersgate – Stockport Manchester

New Launch - Stockport Manchester, apartments from £160,000

  • Discounted launch prices from £160,000
  • Excellent transport links with 3 trains per hour to London Euston and only 9 mins journey to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Experienced development team

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

  • Assured rent & no rental voids
  • Tenant damage cover & newly refurbished inline with requirements of a corporate sitting tenant
  • Free property and lettings management

From £62,000

Emerging Birmingham Commuter Town With Properties From Just £104,000

The emerging Birmingham commuter town where properties are selling in an average of just 24 days

  • A collection of 62 two bedroom apartments and 28 one bedroom apartments.
  • DE14 is one of the fastest selling postcodes in the West Midlands.
  • 23 minute train journey into Birmingham New Street Station.

Properties from £104,000

Mill, Stockport

The Northwest's emerging property hotspot

  • Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000
  • Completion date - Q4 2021
  • Rental yields - 6% plus

Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000

South Central – Birmingham City Centre Apartments

Highly anticipated 28 storey launch in Birmingham City Centre with an impressive roof garden and communal facilities.

  • 154 units across 28 storeys
  • Residential multi-media community room, gym, roof garden and sky cinema
  • Excellent future connectivity via the metro system to other key transport hubs and locations around the city

from £205,800


Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today: 

+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT

+852 9865 4446

Open from 9am-6pm HKT

Stamp Duty Calculator


Unlock members only investment opportunities and full development details. Join now – it’s free, quick and easy.


Not a member? Sign up for free

Purplebricks claims to sell most homes but sceptics want to see evidence

Purplebricks claims to sell most homes but sceptics want to see evidence


By submitting your details via this online form you agree to be contacted via email/phone/SMS by Direct Marketplace Ltd t/a BuyAssociation in relation to property investment and property developments . We do not share your personal details with third parties.  To view our full Privacy Policy click here.