Purplebricks Never Had an MB Listing, Now Gone

By Dave Fratello | July 5th, 2019

What was that even about?

British online discounter Purplebricks was all over the telly and choking up your Facebook feed with ads, and so on, trying to suggest that they were the future of the real estate business. But now they're done. Finished. Kaput.

Purplebricks announced early this week that they are exiting the U.S. market entirely. Australia, too.

After all that struggling to get attention, the firm never had a single listing in Manhattan Beach.

Purplebricks did sell one listing in Hermosa Beach early in 2018.

El Segundo, like Manhattan Beach, was deprived of the Purplebricks charms throughout the (brief) British invasion.

Redondo Beach and Torrance had a few purple listings, and some sellers around the Palos Verdes Peninsula sought out the discounters' help. (Red house icons on the map here, taken from the MLS, indicate sold homes listed by Purplebricks.)

But really, the Brits were mostly shut out of the South Bay. And so goes the story, once again, for another would-be disruptor, seeing the big opportunity, spending big bucks to try to seize it, but failing to persuade people with multi-million-dollar properties to turn over the reins to them.

The biggest South Bay sale by Purplebricks was a $3M lot sale near the water in Rancho Palos Verdes... a discount of $1.2M from the original list price of $4.200M (-28%).

Wow, who knew that even the deep-pocketed, online discounters could play that game of "buying a listing" by over-promising on the list price like that?

What's the pitch there, do you think?

"We charge a reduced commission, and we devote reduced time to trying to figure out how to price and market your property, too!"

Perhaps Purplebricks didn't try hard enough to staff up in the South Bay. Many of their SoCal sales were scattered around inland Orange County, nearer to their local base of operations in Irvine.

But couldn't they have just bought some local market share here by scooping up some local agents with experience?

Too late. The money has run out. (Oh, and another firm with more money to burn is already buying up agents/market share. Or maybe those agents are joining up in droves just because they like the color scheme. At least it's not purple!)

Purplebricks leaves behind a legacy of South Bay failure, and an imbecilic set of "funny" TV/online ads, like the "car wash" ad from which the above image is drawn. (If you don't value your own time, you can see them all here.)

Back to reality now. All real estate is local, not British. And luxury markets don't have much use for the cut-rate firms, whatever their superficial appeal.

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