Foxtons completed the highest number of viewings for five years during the first quarter of 2023, giving it hopes of a busy spring after sales revenue declined.
A first quarter update from the agency brand revealed that sales revenue declined 16% annually to £8.1m, driven by a reduction in exchange volumes.
The update said: “This was a consequence of the lower under-offer sales pipeline at the start of the year, resulting from reduced buyer activity following the September mini-Budget.
“However, we are much encouraged by the early impact of the operational improvements we have made.
“During the quarter, we saw an increase in instruction market share and we completed the highest number of quarterly viewings in the past five years. Combined with growing levels of buyer demand, this has supported good growth in the value of the under-offer pipeline over the course of the first quarter.”
Financial services revenue was similarly down 18 % in the quarter to £2m, against a backdrop of lower sales market activity, investment in adviser capacity supported marginally higher volumes, particularly from refinance customers.
Meanwhile, lettings revenue was up 27% in the first quarter to £22.8m.
Revenue in the first quarter across the brand was up 10% to £32.9m,
Guy Gittins, chief executive of Foxtons, said: “As expected, Sales and Financial Services revenues were lower year-on-year, reflecting the lower under-offer pipeline at the start of 2023 and volatility in the mortgage market.
“Over the course of the quarter, operational improvements and increasing levels of buyer demand, meant we have made good progress in rebuilding the under-offer sales pipeline.
"We are focused on delivering the operational upgrades I set out in March at pace. Key areas of progress in the quarter include rebuilding fee generating headcount and embedding estate agency culture changes, including prioritising lead generation in competitive markets, focusing on core estate agency key performance indicators and improving cross-sell across the group.”
Gittins said he is encouraged by the early results of operational changes achieved to date, adding: “We have grown our market share of sales instructions and completed the highest number of viewings in the past five years, delivered growth in the cross-sell of Lettings property management services, and in financial services delivered growth in both the volume of mortgages underwritten and the cross-sell of protection products.
"I remain confident in our refocused strategic priorities and the determination of the business to deliver market share growth and shareholder value by making Foxtons London's go-to estate agent."