A statement from London-focussed agency Chestertons claims to have bucked the poor market in the capital - and says it’s partly down to “bold structural changes introduced last year by new managing director Guy Gittins.”
Gittins himself, in an announcement declaring the company’s strongest start to a year since 2014, says: “For a while now, there has been a misconception that the London property market has ground to a halt due to Brexit paranoia. While it is true that sales volumes have fallen since their peak, we have seen a sharp increase in buyer numbers and buyer activity, which started at the end of last year.
With Brexit seemingly still some time away, the pent-up demand from these buyers has started to be released and turn into sales activity, as seen by our figures from the first quarter of the year. We have seen a similar mindset from tenants who have noticed the sharp drop in the number of available properties coming onto the rental market and are acting quickly and decisively to secure a property.”
And he adds: “Our focus on utilising new technology to improve internal processes and making our back office functions more efficient has started to really pay dividends and we are now actively looking for suitable acquisitions, especially lettings businesses, that we could assimilate into our existing structure.”
Chestertons says that in the first three months of the year its sales saw a three per cent rise in revenue despite a 21 per cent drop in the number of new properties coming to the market. The sales team registered 36 per cent more buyers, conducted 13 per cent more viewings and achieved 12 per cent more exchanges.
However, it’s lettings where the company is strongest - a revenue rise of 17 per cent compared to the same period of 2018. There have been 23 per cent more tenants registered and 17 per cent more offers made, both of which have resulted in five per cent more new tenancies agreed.
Although the company’s statement says it’s enjoyed “its strongest start to any year since the previous peak of the market in 2014 in terms of revenue and profitability”, no details have been given of the scale of the profitability improvement.