City & Corporate: Property firms call in City agencies

Real estate Blythe Weigh and The Profile Group win new accounts as property market sees signs of upturn.

Two real estate companies have turned to City PR agencies to provide consultancy as press reports suggest the housing and property market is continuing to follow an upward trajectory.

Global real estate adviser DTZ Holdings has appointed Blythe Weigh Communications to handle its financial PR on a retainer basis.

Separately, real estate firm McKay Securities has turned to The Profile Group to handle its financial PR and investor relations activity.

Blythe Weigh Communications beat off stiff competition from Maitland, Finsbury and retained agency FD to win the account.

The agency will be targeting the broadsheet press and will aim to increase DTZ's analyst following.

Blythe Weigh director Tim Blythe said of the appointment: 'The real estate and construction industries have suffered during the recession, but we have seen an encouraging upturn in business.'

The agency already advises construction firm Morgan Sindall.

The Profile Group landed the brief with McKay Securities following a three-way shoot-out also involving FD and Brunswick.

The Profile Group's financial PR team, City Profile, will advise McKay on its financial communications programme.

It will focus on positioning the company with the financial media and sell-side equity research analysts.

Broker Profile, The Profile Group's investor business focusing on private client stockbrokers, will manage an IR programme targeting new investors.

The account will be led by The Profile Group executive director Simon Courtenay, with support from account executive William Attwell.

'We will be assisting McKay to raise its profile in the City,' said Courtenay. 'The combination of City Profile and Broker Profile will enable us to provide a broad communications programme reaching all aspects of the media, analysts and new investors.'

The appointments coincide with reports last week that UK house prices were higher year-on-year in October - the first such annual rise for 19 months.

Nationwide said property prices were two per cent higher in October than in the same month last year, with the average home costing £162,038. This is the first time since March 2008 that the annual rate of change has been in positive territory.

HOW I SEE IT

- Debbie Garritty, Director, Bell Pottinger North

Reputation management makes good business sense. Traditionally, however, many in the property sector have seen it as 'nice to have' rather than essential. These appointments may indicate a sea change in attitude, as well as an upturn in the marketplace. One of the consequences of recession is increasing risk aversion. So it's encouraging to see these firms looking to the future and taking positive action. A good communications strategy builds the credibility that underpins consumer and investor trust. And that is the very foundation on which reputations - and economic recovery - are built.

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