More sellers are expected to by-pass estate agents in future

Private property sales are expected to surge to around 20% by 2020, a leading property developer has revealed.

Gary McCausland (pictured), founder of property company the Richland Group and presenter of Channel Five’s ‘How to be a Property Developer’, says: “People are understanding property better now – it’s no longer a black art.”

But McCausland, who is currently working with the BBC on a programme exploring the house buying process, insists that private sale growth does not signal the death knell for estate agents.

He says: “I don’t believe there will ever be the death of estate agents. They are best placed to vet prospective buyers.”

But he warns that agents must adapt their business models in response to the growth of internet property sites as well as strengthen their client service.

He says: “There needs to be a partnership between estate agents and vendors.”

McCausland’s comments came at the official launch of home move service The launch included the unveiling of the site’s inaugural Migration Monitor, which tracks which postcode areas its users are moving to and from on a quarterly basis.

The monitor reveales that Truro was the most favoured UK town to move to in the first quarter of 2008.

The number of people moving into the Cornish town in the three months to March 31 outnumbered those moving out by 40%.

London dominated UK movers’ least favourite destinations in the first quarter of 2008, though Halifax proved the overall least favourite town to which to move.

Mark Cunningham, co-founder of, says: “A growing number of movers can no longer afford to, or want to, live in large cities, particularly those with young families. They want to bring their children up in a more rural setting, where they can typically benefit from better schools and a better quality of life.”

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