Winkworth says solid performances from its lettings and property management services, plus new franchise deals, have compensated for a challenging sales market in the first half of this year.
In a trading statement the agency says that a year ago the deadline for the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge in April 2016 had led to a spike in transactions, making it inevitable that this year’s comparable period may see fallbacks.
So in the first half of the year gross revenues for the franchised office network fell nine per cent to £21.4m with sales falling 18 per cent to £11.7m. Lettings were down a little, by two per cent to £6m, but property management was up 15 per cent to £3.7m.
However, it says prime central London has seen an uptick in interest on the sales side, provoked by the falling pound - since the EU referendum vote - encouraging more overseas buyers, and greater interest from all sectors thanks to a 15 per cent drop in prices over the past two years.
“Prices have remained steady in the more domestically-focused outer London markets, supported by low interest rates and high employment, but affordability issues continue to affect transactions” it warns.
The average price of a Winkworth property sold increased by two per cent, rising to £750,000 in London and £594,000 across the UK.
Lettings and management revenue combined grew by four per cent and increased from 40 per cent in H1 2016 to 45 per cent of total gross revenue.
The company signed seven offices in the first half of the year - Kingsbury, Milford On Sea, Cheltenham, Surbiton, Sunningdale, Dartmouth and Brixham - and says: “Start-up franchisees are typically successful managers whose earnings are depressed by current market conditions and who look to own equity in their own business, with the opportunity to secure their income longer term and no longer be hamstrung by the corporate requirements of larger well-known brands dragging down their earnings potential.”
The company also says its digital plan is well underway, with a new website and work in progress to develop improved functionality for sales and lettings clients.