Purplebricks and Countrywide have each recently claimed to be the biggest agency group in the UK but now Connells says that its 2019 successes show it to be the largest - at least by share.
The firm says it maintained a 5.5 per cent market share in 2019, calling it “the largest share of any UK estate agency.” It also claims to be the largest new homes operator with 9,000 new-build units sold in the last calendar year.
The company and its staff “are determined to maintain our position as the UK’s most successful estate agency group” according to Connells Group chief executive David Livesey.
The claims come in the agency group’s 2019 results, which show that the company - owned by the Skipton building society - made pre-tax profits of £50.1m, well down on the £56.9m the year before but nonetheless described as “resilient” in the light of Brexit and other market challenges, especially on the sales side.
Connells also ended last year with no debt and cash reserves on the rise - £75.5m compared with £51.9m at the end of 2018.
The weak spot for the agency was sales - down seven per cent. However, the total of lettings properties under management was two per cent up with what the firm describes as “a successful strategy to address tenant fee ban.”
Survey, valuation and conveyancing activities were all roughly in line with the year before.
Connells Group chief executive David Livesey says that “to have performed so well and produced another market leading result is pleasing when 2019 was another poor year for the market.”
Livesey says the group continues to explore opportunities for expansion either through acquisition or organic growth, having completed on three acquisitions in 2019.
“Following the decisive election result and a positive close to 2019 where our activity measures outperformed seasonal norms, there is a generally improved feel to the market. Although early days, 2020 feels less uncertain and, with strong fundamentals to support our ambition, we are well placed to optimise from the uptick in the market” he adds.
Connells closed a small number of branches in 2019 - as revealed on Estate Agent Today here and in earlier stories - but no mention of this was made in the group’s 2019 results.