EAT has noticed a fascinating trend buried in the detail of Countrywide PLC’s trading update released this week.
While full-year 2013 figures were promising anyway - showing house exchanges up nine per cent and numbers of mortgages arranged up 12 per cent - the real story is in the accelerating rate of recovery which can be seen from the figures for just the last quarter of 2013.
These showed house exchanges up a staggering 18 per cent and the number of mortgages arranged up 26 per cent - at least twice the rate for 2013 as a whole.
And while full-year income for the Countrywide PCL group - which includes brands such as Baistow Eves, Hamptons and Bridgfords - was up 11 per cent in 2013 as a whole, in the final quarter of the year it was up 25 per cent over the same period of 2012.
“The continued income momentum together with careful levels of overall cost management will result in a profit for 2013 at the top end of our expectations and will provide a solid platform to deliver our plans for 2014” the company’s official statement said.
The firm says it is too early to accurately predict the level of housing market transactions in 2014 but dismisses threats of bubbles and recovery being too strong, too fast and too centred on London and the south east of England.