Countrywide’s Profits Fall 61%
Countrywide has reported to the City of London Corporation that the first half of this year experienced “depressed” activity in a “difficult” housing market, causing a 12% drop in sales.
Countrywide’s total income for the first six months of 2015 was up, by just 1% to £338.6m. However, operating profits plummeted by 61% to £16.2m from £41.6m in the same period last year.
In the first half of this year, Countrywide offices exchanged on 27,579 residential properties, down from 31,480 in the same period of 2014. Its London and premier brands exchanged on 2,861, down from 3,110.
Consequently, its estate agency division earned £86.732m, down from £101.313m, and its London and premier brands took £56.816m, slightly less than the £57.840m they brought in previously.
Positive areas were the commercial division and residential lettings, where income and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 7%.
Countrywide also said that in the first half of the year, it acquired 17 businesses for a total of £41.4m.
Its report mentions the reorganisation of the UK’s largest agent, named Building Our Future, which plans to double the size of Countrywide by 2020.
Foxtons and Connells have told shareholders that they expect the residential market to pick up, and Countrywide agrees. However, it’s chairman, Grenville Turner, says the group is “cautious.”
He adds: “We are beginning to see the green shoots of a post-election recovery and with a typical cycle of 13-14 weeks to convert pipeline to exchange, this is encouraging for building positive momentum into 2016.”1