Yesterday the Chancellor himself laid out a document to Parliament, detailing his plans to boost competition in order to bring down bills for families and firms, in aim of creating a more prosperous nation.
One such plan is to open up markets, removing barriers for new and emerging companies, in order to create better functioning business, something the Chancellor believes is the lifeblood of a thriving economy.
Mr Osborne has identified the property industry and, more specifically, the online estate agency sector as a particular area of focus. It is rare for the government to set out plans with the emphasis so heavily tailored to a single area of industry, but this latest announcement certainly seems to do that.
Mr Osborne’s intention is for the Government to “further reduce barriers so that it’s easier for alternative business structures, such as supermarkets and estate agents, to offer legal services such as conveyancing.” A consultation next spring will look to remove these existing barriers for alternative business models in legal services, as well as making legal service regulators independent from their representative bodies.
The intention is to create a fairer, more balanced regulatory regime to encourage competition and enable businesses such as estate agents to offer a better product when it comes to legal services, like conveyancing. They will also address how the real estate sector has developed around existing regulatory frameworks, encouraging innovation, to create a more transparent process.
However Mr Osborne’s big statement was the Government’s intention to inject innovation into the home buying process. They want to ensure that the modernisation of the estate agency sector through the online space, continues to provide consumers with quicker, better value routes to selling their home. Mr Osborne wants to encourage new business models such as online only estate agents, to enhance price competition in the real estate sector – as he believes they are yet to properly penetrate the property market.
Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented:
“This latest paper from the Treasury really is a significant nod to the success of the online property sector and how far it has evolved in such a short period of time. When I started eMoov five years ago, the traditional sector found the concept of an online agent laughable and dismissed it as a fad.
For the government to now acknowledge its success and the superior service provided to the consumer, by bringing it to the forefront of their plans to further advance it, really indicates that the online sector is the future of estate agency.
We’ve known for a long time that we offer a vastly superior service for a fraction of the cost of the high street. If you ask me we have most definitely penetrated the market already and have been injecting innovation for quite some time now. However I understand that the Government can’t base its plans on a whim and so having now had enough time to evaluate the results, their latest intention shows that they, like us, are clearly consumer centric when it comes to the property selling process.
Since starting eMoov we have seen a number of competitors join us in the space and, to further encourage this is good for us and good for the consumer, as it will further enhance the service provided to the customer, something we are passionate about.
By improving the legal process and reducing the barriers involved in aspects of the property process such as conveyancing, the Government should hopefully help us streamline the process of buying or selling a property even further. This will make it easier for companies like eMoov to offer legal services and will hopefully result in yet more value added for the consumer, as well as a more fluent process overall.”
You can read the full document submitted by George Osborne here.