Property group hails ‘resilient’ results in subdued marketMar 29, 2020
A RESILIENT performance in a subdued property market has seen estate agency and property services plc Connells Group report reduced but steady profits for 2019.
The group, headquartered in Leighton Buzzard, has announced pre-tax profits of £50.1 million, a fall of almost 12% on 2018’s figure of £56.9 million. Revenue remained within 1% of 2018 at £426.4 million and the group has maintained a healthy balance sheet, with year-end cash reserves up by more than 45% to £75.7 million.
House sale exchanges reduced by 7% in a market hit by political and Brexit uncertainty but Connells has maintained its market share at 5.5%, the largest of any UK estate agency,. It remains the largest new homes operator, selling 9,000 properties last year and its financial services income has grown by 3%, with £107 billion worth of lending generated despite fewer house sales.
The company is investing across the business, implementing a range of revenue boosts to mitigate the Tenant Fees Act. Connells has also introduced new digital products and is training new surveyors through its survey and valuations AssocRICS development programme, is upskilling existing staff by extending its new head office apprenticeship programme and, at executive level, its management and director development programmes.
Group chief executive officer David Livesey said: “Connells Group has delivered a strong full-year performance that reflects the robustness and benefits of our diversified business model. To have performed so well and produced another market-leading result is pleasing when 2019 was another poor year for the market.
“Continued political and Brexit uncertainty inevitably impacted consumer sentiment and the number of housing transactions fell again but our teams maintained their relentless focus on delivering great customer service and outcomes and we are proud of the progress we have made.”
The group continues to explore opportunities for expansion either through acquisition or organic growth, and completed on three acquisitions in 2019, Mr Livesey added.
“Following the decisive election result and a positive close to 2019 where our activity measures outperformed seasonal norms, there is a generally improved feel to the market. With strong fundamentals to support our ambition, we are well placed to optimise from the uptick in the market.
“Our results stand out from our competitors and are testament to the dedication, skill and experience of our people who are determined to maintain our position as the UK’s most successful estate agency group.”