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Nationwide Pulls Plug On Their Cheshire Estate Agency

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In 2008, Nationwide Buiding Society took over several smaller building societies, including The Cheshire Building Society. The Cheshire runs a substantial chain of Estate Agents in the northwest of England, the Midlands and Wales. But now, the Nationwide has decided to close not one branch, not two branches, but every single one.

All through the first dip in house prices, The Cheshire carried on if nothing was happening, reliably filling the local free newspaper with multi-page adverts, and was the last to revise asking prices downwards. In my part of town, six estate agents and mortgage brokers closed down, leaving The Cheshire as the last one standing. They never even blinked.

But now, with the recession "officially over" and George Osborne confidently predicting booming house sales in the years ahead, the Nationwide have decided to shut up shop as quickly as possibly. This Friday. Nationwide say the closure is in order to "build a sustainable future". I wonder if this reflects their view of the sustainability of the current market. As well as closing every branch of the estate agency, in order to "keep the Cheshire brand on the High Street" they are closing a string of branches of the building society too. Perhaps they think saving for a deposit is unrealistic too.

Their staff don't seem to agree though. A new estate agent opens its doors on Saturday, and they've already got their adverts in the window... funny how all the photos still show Cheshire "For Sale" signs. Time will tell if this is the right moment in the economic cycle to set up a new business. They may need a lot of luck.

Source: <http://www.thecheshire.co.uk/about-us/nbs-news.htm>

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That's really interesting. Where I am (North Yorks - similar sort of market to Cheshire), two estate agents shut down in '08/early '09. Now two more have sprung up over the last 12 months - one as a result of a split from another.

I don't know how many recent sales are going on, but EAs appear to be quite quiet at the moment. Not sure how sustainable the business is currently - time will tell, of course.

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