One of the UK's largest estate agency chains has issued its latest trading update, reporting a strong start to the year.
Hunters, which opened ten new branches in the first four months of the year, says its performance has been bolstered by an increase in lettings revenue.
In the first four months of 2016, the firm's lettings income increased by 20% when compared to the same period last year.
The group says 54% of its revenue in the four months to the end of April was generated in its branches in the South, with the remainder generated in the North.
Hunters says it expects to post first half of the year results ahead of expectations and significantly ahead of the same period in 2015.
The agency's managing director, Glynis Frew, says there are plans for further expansion this year and that Hunters’ 'pipeline for new franchises is very strong'.
She told Estate Agent Today that she's pleased to see the recent growth in the group's lettings revenue.
"We often find that many new franchise partners are particularly strong in either sales or lettings and want to learn how to improve in the other part of their business," she says.
Frew says the biggest challenge facing agents at the moment is the government's 'considerable' interest in the property market.
"There are many changes to keep up with," she says. "For example every time one of our agents completes a let they need to comply with approximately 145 different pieces of legislation – which can be a lot to get your head around."
Unlike some other agents, Hunters says it hasn't experienced a drop-off in demand from buyers since the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge in April.
Frew says that the agency is also yet to see 'any uncertainly from our buyers in response to the EU referendum'.
Hunters floated on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market in July last year and reported in January that in 2015 its income exceeded £30 million for the first time.
The first Hunters branch was opened in 1992 and the agency’s founder, Kevin Hollinrake, is MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey.