Countrywide says it has Foxtons as its target to beat in a bid to be the number one agency for sales of London’s mid-market properties, defined as those between £350,000 and £1m.
In a presentation to investors, Graham Bell - managing director of the new London division of the recently-reorganised Countrywide group - says Countrywide has 20 brands operating in the London or London-dependent area.
The London sector of the company means locations within the M25, those in the commuter belt around London, and areas where buying patterns have a link to London activity. Therefore in addition to Countrywide’s London-specific brands, the group also includes all John D Wood and all Hamptons International offices comes under its London management.
Bell told investors that Countrywide’s agency brands already combine to be the number one operator in London’s lower end - below £350,000 - and at its highest end, above £1m.
But despite an improvement in the group’s performance in the mid-market following the acquisition of Greene & Co’s seven offices earlier this year, Countrywide remains behind Foxtons in that category.
Growth in that category, which Bell describes as “Real London” and which Countrywide says will be London’s primary sales growth area in the next five years, is to be one of group’s objectives in the near-term.
Bell told investors that the 20 or so brands now operating each individually made a profit and many had “local heritage” for returning clients - a history and sales advantage he did not want to lose.
However, he said one option for the future would be “co-branding” where a traditional name could be retained with another brand associated with it, before the weaker brand is phased out.
He also said the goup was looking at “office hubs” and “virtual branches” as options for how it could improve its operation and geographical spread in the capital.