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25mnb's blog Over the last few years, franchises have become more popular across all areas of business. From food outlets and retailers to service providers, franchises are cropping up across in a range of industries across the country. Though the reasons for this vary sector to sector, in general, franchises are taking off because customers trust names they recognise and brands they’re familiar with. As a result, entrepreneurs looking for a new venture are making the most of existing companies to help them launch enterprises of their own.

One of the fastest growing franchise sectors in the UK is property. Thanks to the country’s burgeoning housing market, more and more entrepreneurs are looking for ways to make a profit from property. And as estate agent franchises offer the perfect way for ambitious business people to cash in on the property boom, increasing numbers are popping up on the nation’s high streets.

Taking a look at the growth of estate agent franchises over the past decade is not only a great way to learn about the development of the sector, it also offers a valuable insight into the possible future of the industry. Thanks to their insider knowledge of the housing market, estate agents have long been able to predict wider housing trends, making them perfectly placed to take advantage of everything the growing economy has to offer.

What is an estate agency franchise?

An estate agency franchise operates in more or less the same way as other types of franchises in that the franchisee pays the franchisor for the use of the company name, training and other specific operating instructions related to the business. The franchisee benefits from having a trusted brand to build on, while the franchisor is able to grow their business without heavy investment in premises, staff or market research.

As buying or selling property often involves large sums of money and an element of risk for both buyer and seller, most customers will opt for a name that they know and trust when choosing an estate agent. This makes the market perfect for franchises and they come ready-made with a reliable reputation and significant corporate experience.

A buoyant housing market means more estate agents

Though the UK property market was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, it’s bounced back over the past few years and today property is outstripping its 2008 valuations by around 23%. In London, where house prices are up around 60% compared to 2008, the boom shows no signs of stopping as foreign investors vie with each other to secure the very best of the capital’s housing stock.

This increase in activity in the property market has lead to an increase in the demand for high quality estate agents. As a result, agents that operate a franchise model have been able to expand quickly without costly investment in new ventures.

Growth in estate agency franchises in the UK

One estate agent that is taking full advantage of the growth of the property market is Hunters. Set up in 1991, the franchise now has around 161 branches and is growing by an impressive 20% per year. The company prefers the franchise model as it requires less investment and offers more opportunities for quick expansion. As well as targeting entrepreneurs looking to set up estate agencies, the company also works with small local agents who want to benefit from the respected Hunters name and reputation.

In the coming years, the company is hoping to grow further by taking over smaller chains that have between five and two hundred branches. This will allow Hunters to expand rapidly over the coming years and ensure that they are able to keep up with the fast paced UK housing market.

As the property market continues to offer lucrative opportunities to ambitious entrepreneurs, it’s no surprise that increasing numbers have invested in estate agency franchises. The continuous growth and impressive returns of these type of businesses have tempted many to invest in reputable franchisors, helping established and trusted estate agents to grow quickly and claim ever larger slices of the market.

Growth of related businesses

Though an increase in the number of estate agents on our streets is one of the most visible aspects of the property boom, businesses related to the property industry are also experiencing an increase in demand. For example, Pali Ltd, a property and land information franchise, has experience significant growth over the past few years. Set up in 1999 to supply conveyancing searches and other property related reports to property professionals throughout England and Wales, Pali has seen strong growth in recent years.

Like Hunters, Pali uses a franchise model, allowing the company to grow quickly and to take advantage of the current property market. By supporting their franchisees with technical support, marketing training and on going advice, the company has been able to expand across the country without having to compromise on standards.

The future of franchised estate agents

Though growth in the UK property market varies across the country, in general the upward trend in transactions and valuations seems to be strong and shows little sign of stopping. If current growth continues, the number of estate agent franchises will also continue to increase. Though the Brexit may affect prices and sales in the short term, experts are still predicting that house prices across the UK could increase by as much as 50% over the next ten years. This would mean that one in every twenty homes in the UK would be worth over one million pounds.

This big increase in house prices means even more opportunities for estate agents to make money out of property. As a result, the number of estate agent franchises will increase, with branches of the most competitive brands popping up across the country.
With such significant growth predicted for the industry, now is the perfect time to invest in an estate agent franchise and ensure you get your slice of the property pie.