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Foxtons have conceded that Humraz – the unique website which sells properties for less than 5% of their value – poses a threat to UK estate agents.

Currently at Humraz auction is a £180k two bed flat in Woking, which will sell for less than £9k. The lowest unique (i.e. unmatched) bid will win the auction. The concept works by charging participants £3 to submit a bid. This charge is pooled into a syndicate to cover the cost of the property and ‘status messages’, which give bidders guidance on the progress of their bids.

Foxtons’ Jamie Heath has confirmed the company is monitoring Humraz’s progress. “It could be a threat to estate agents,” he says. “For a buyer it seems a fairly good bet.”

Figures released this week by Office for National Statistics show that housing accounts for 59% of the country’s assets (nearly £4trillion). The news is little consolation to the legions of first time buyers being squeezed out of the property market.

Asmat Monaghan, founder of Humraz, suggests that “estate agents act as gatekeepers to an exclusive real estate club whereas Humraz is designed to let first-time buyers in the back door. It’s little wonder estate agents such as Foxtons have taken notice of us.”

Humraz will donate the equivalent of Foxtons’ commission – 2.5% of the value of any property they auction (not the purchase price) – to the charity Warchild UK.

For further information, images and interviews with Humraz directors and participants, please contact:

Sami McCabe
m: +44 (0) 7789 777 440
t: +44 (0) 20 8849 8180
f: +44 (0) 20 8899 6001
e: sami@ubiquitycomms.com

Editors’ Notes:

• Humraz has already auctioned several bars of gold bullion for a fraction of their value
• ‘Humraz’ is an anagram of Asmat Monaghan’s daughters’ initials
• Bids are placed via SMS, online and post: there is no premium rate telephone line.
• AS soon as the auction closes there are no further bids accepted
Warchild UK is the charity dedicated to young victims of armed conflict
• All properties at auction are owned by Humraz’s directors

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