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UPDATE 1-UK's Purplebricks to enter New York in wider U.S. real estate push

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Jan 24 (Reuters) - British online estate agent Purplebricks Group Plc said it planned to enter the New York market in the second quarter of 2018, as it expands further in the United States after having built a leading position in a fragmented industry at home.

Purplebricks, backed by star fund manager Neil Woodford, said it was recruiting local real estate experts in New York and had set up an office in Midtown Manhattan.

"With higher-than-average rates of commission and transaction volumes, New York was the natural first move on the East Coast for Purplebricks," Chief Executive Michael Bruce said.

Purplebricks ventured into the United States last year - its third market after Britain and Australia - launching operations in Los Angeles and moving into San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno this year.

The New York Designated Market Area (NY DMA) is the largest DMA in the United States, covering 31 individual counties, with over 7.4 million households and over 20 million people, Purplebricks said in a statement on Wednesday.

In Britain, Purplebricks and other online estate agents have challenged traditional operators such as Countrywide and Foxtons, which are struggling as the market cools due to uncertainties in the wake of Brexit.

Purplebricks has managed to grow its business amid this difficult period, thanks to its low-fee model of local experts who provide valuations and online systems that handle selling and buying of properties. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)