Social landlord to set up estate agent business

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 3 Feb 2017

THE booming Scunthorpe-based housing association Ongo Homes is set to start up business as an estate agent, handling private property sales and lettings.

The latest commercial venture celebrates Ongo's 10th anniversary and forms part of an ambitious growth plan.

Since 2007, the not-for-profit organisation has taken over an employment agency and a roofing business and also operates as locksmiths.

It is understood the former offices of Hetts Solicitors, in Oswald Road, have been earmarked for the new business – but the housing association has at this stage not released details.

Lisa Fleming, Ongo's head of marketing, said: "The commercial team at Ongo is planning to extend its business into private property sales and lettings as part of our ambitious plan to grow. This will be a completely separate business, branded individually, but as with all Ongo subsidiaries, profits raised will be reinvested into the development of local homes and communities.

"We are not able to give further information at the moment as we are still in the planning stages of this commercial venture."

This year is proving to be a bumper year for Ongo which started life as North Lincolnshire Homes.

Work has started on building a new HQ for 300-staff at a cost fo £3.5 million in Scunthorpe's High Street East, ready for relocation from rented premises in Normanby Road.

The association is also pressing ahead with new housing developments on the town's Albert Marson Court and the Westcliff Estate at a combined cost of £12.5 million.

Last month, the Homes and Communities Agency gave Ongo a further boost when it was awarded £7.25 million to build 257 new homes by 2021.

The investment will include North Lincolnshire's first dementia care scheme.

Ongo started life in 2007 as the region's biggest social landlord when North Lincolnshire Council handed over control of its 10,000-strong housing stock.

Long-established estate agent Martin Hornsby who also trades in Oswald Road, said: "Anyone who knows the business accepts that nothing stays the same for very long.

""Estate agency is driven by change, change is inevitable, essential, often beneficial and exciting.

"Ongo are moving from a community facility to a commercial organisation, they will need to meet the expectations of the client, and keep the customer happy – welcome to the real world, Ongo.

"During the 80s and 90s, the corporates entered the business with high hopes and intentions of changing the world before eventually withdrawing with their fingers burnt.

"Hopefully, Ongo's contribution to the local property market will be positive and benefit buyers and sellers.

"Established local professional estate agency businesses, in my view, are likely to welcome new challenges, as this is how we live, learn and thrive."

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