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Countrywide brokers drive 16% rise in mortgage volumes offset by ‘sustained challenges’ in estate agency

  • 10/11/2017
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Countrywide brokers drive 16% rise in mortgage volumes offset by ‘sustained challenges’ in estate agency
Countrywide’s mortgage advisers arranged £4.7bn of gross lending in the third quarter mitigating the estate agency slowdown for the property giant, although financial services revenue fell year-on-year.

The trading update to 30 September confirmed a £900,000 revenue drop from the financial arm from £23.2m in 2016 to £22.3m year-on-year.

The fall of 4% reflected the ‘change in mix,’ with strong double digit growth in the Buy to Let Business, Mortgage Bureau and Mortgage Intelligence channels offset by lower transactional volumes from the high street.

The struggle for high street estate agency brands was shown in a 23% revenue drop across the UK in Q3, with a five per cent drop in London, and lettings revenue also fell to £47.3m from £49m in 2016.

On digital development, the group agreed a partnership with Blenheim Chalcott to develop an online mortgage broking business as well as a set of digital tools for mortgage advisers, expected to launch in early 2018.

Group strategy

Alison Platt, group CEO said: “We have a clear strategy founded on being the provider of choice for property services in the UK and to give customers the ability to use Countrywide across multiple channels. During the quarter, we continued to extend multi-channel offerings to our customers, which shows through in the resilience of the overall revenue performance.”

The property giant continues its cost-cutting drive with £19m of cost programmes delivered in 2017 with similar expected again next year with a drop in operating costs of 7% to date.

Platt said: “The market for housing transactions remains challenging and is likely to be down overall compared with 2016. As in previous years, the final quarter remains important and we currently expect our results for the full year to be towards the lower end of the range of market expectations.”

Total Group revenue for Q3 was £175.1m, an increase of 2% against Q2 and down 7% year on year.

“Despite the sustained challenges in the estate agency market, our cost actions are delivering,” said the firm.

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