The UK's largest estate agency is on the verge of bankruptcy


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/05/countrywide.html


#2

Maybe “Countrywide” is not the best brand name for real estate ventures in the English-speaking world, especially not for ones that depend on bubbles going on forever to stay solvent.


#3
Summary

Good.


#4

Countrywide has been staggering for a decade under a huge pile of debt, that was loaded onto it due to a leveraged buyout.

The continuation of the London property bubble after the previous housing market crash has merely staved off the inevitable. There’s no reason at all why a chain of estate agents should have had that much debt- especially after a series of incredibly profitable years when London prices kept on going up, despite all logic.


#5

I have lived for about 30 years not far away from Upper Street, Islington in London.
There are basically two sorts of commercial establishments along one stretch - restaurants and estate agents.
When there are more estate agents than restaurants, I reckon the market is in trouble.
When there are twice as many estate agents as restaurants, we’re heading for a crash (the last time it hit that point was about a decade ago.)
It’s not far off that now…


#6

Some things haven’t changed in a long time:

In Islington you can hardly hurl a brick without hitting three antique shops, an estate agent and a bookshop.
Douglas Adams- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


#7

Is an estate agency British for a real estate agency?


#8

Will this cause a real estate crash, allow Countrywide to screw everyone they owe money to and then take advantage of depressed prices to buy even more? If the current trend continues, home ownership will become a distant memory as everyone will be renting their dwellings from rich corporations.


#9

Also in news of companies I’d like to see the back of; payday loan parasite Wonga - home of multi thousand percent interest rates for poor people - is also circling the drain and has only been saved from immediate insolvency by a £10 million cash injection.

I really hope it was a loan at their standard rate of 1500% interest.


#10

Yes, but estate agents are actually worse to deal with.


#11

Well, the best case scenario would be that prices dropped far enough to make housing actually affordable for ordinary people. Even in London.

And why not? They could start by banning non-doms, as many cities do. In that way, all the current housing should drop from the vastly-overpriced-investment value to the actual housing utility value.


#12

We’d need a government that looks after the interests of the country as a whole, rather than exclusively the very richest, to enact something like that though.

We haven’t had such a government in over four decades now :frowning:


#13

It’s pretty incredible that we call these modern societies democratic, yet a government that actually looks out for people seems decidedly utopian. Especially in the UK, at any rate. Incredible and sad. Jeremy Corbyn may be a sign of better things to come, but for now, the outlook isn’t too rosy.


#14

I hope not, if it means the interest gets passed on to future buyers. :no_mouth::gun:


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#16

Insert a good Glengarry Glen Ross quote here:


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#19

This is just the market purging itself of the thing that ails it, much like the earth is purging itself of us right now.


#20

“fuck all those people” - Glen