The Property Franchise Group says its online/hybrid agency EweMove traded profitably throughout last year and will show “a significant improvement” over 2017.
The group’s full-year results for 2018 will not be revealed until mid-April but in a trading statement to shareholders and the City, TPFG is glowing about its online offspring.
It says: “The Group performed well over the year with all its brands outperforming the market. Its hybrid brand, EweMove, traded profitably throughout the year and will show a significant improvement over full-year 2017.”
Group chief executive Ian Wilson says he knows why EweMove has avoided the pitfalls that claimed Emoov and hurt the online industry: “In a year when the online/hybrid property sector failed to make any inroads into the market share of traditional High Street agency and a number of the sector’s players struggled financially or failed, we continued to make good progress with EweMove, and increased its profitability. The secret of our success is the offer, ‘no sale, no fee’, harnessed to the entrepreneurial drive of a local owner.”
Overall TPFG’s trading statement suggested a very strong 2018 with revenue up 10 per cent to £11.2m (2017: £10.2m), with management fees rising 14 per cent to £9.5m (2017: £8.3m) - of those fees, some 68 per cent came from the lettings sector.
The group serviced 55,000 tenanted managed properties (2017: 52,000) and its assisted acquisitions programme supported 28 acquisitions by franchisees (2017: 12) and added 3,115 managed properties (2017: 2,012).
Looking ahead, the firm says 2019 will be another challenging year for the property market with ongoing Brexit uncertainty having the potential to dampen sales transaction volumes.
However the Tenant Fees Ban, scheduled to start on June 1, will reduce the group’s lettings revenue by just £0.5m by the end of this year - “this impact will be less than anticipated” says the group’s statement.
“The resilience of our franchise network model has proved itself time and time again over the last five years. When you couple that with a strong underlying revenue stream from managing let properties, the benefits in an underperforming property market have been all too clear to see” says Ian Wilson.
“Against a backdrop of uncertain political and macro-economic conditions in 2019, we are confident that our assisted acquisitions programme, the “thinning out” of independent agents, our drive into digital marketing and our strong balance sheet will allow us to continue outperforming the market” he concludes.