The property agency announced another “robust year” for its mortgage services business, with the number of loans jumping by 11%.
After a record performance in 2016, income from Connell’s mortgage division further increased by 13%.
Overall pre-tax profits at the group were reported at £104.2m in 2017, as the group’s parent company Skipton Building Society today announced it is merging with Holmesdale Building Society.
Remortgaging activity in Connell’s mortgage business shot up by 21.6% in 2017, thanks to borrowers refinancing ahead of anticipated rate rises, the group said.
First-time buyers accounted for a third of mortgage activity, up 8.3% on the previous year.
And Connells said this trend is likely to continue in 2018 after first-time buyer mortgage applications leapt by 52% year-on-year in January.
Borrowers making their first-step on the ladder have been buoyed by the availability of higher loan-to-value (LTV) deals and last Autumn’s stamp duty changes, the agency added.
There was also a 19.6% increase in buy-to-let remortgage business, but buy-to-let purchase business fell 16%.
Connells Group invested in its mortgage services business throughout 2017 with development of a new customer management and advice system, plus the creation of a telephone mortgage advice service for existing customers.
Mortgage adviser headcount was also boosted with the division now employing more than 1,000 people, including 580 dedicated mortgage services consultants throughout Connells Group’s branch network.
The group’s subsidiary The New Homes Group also grew its number of mortgage and protection advisers by 25% in response to demand from the housebuilder community.
Mortgage market performed
Adrian Scott, Connells Group mortgage services director (pictured), said: “We are pleased to report another strong year of activity for our mortgage services business and to announce another set of outstanding results for Connells Group.
“The mortgage market performed well for us, with good growth in the volume of mortgages as a whole and heightened activity across almost all categories.
“There was a slight shift from purchase to remortgage activity overall, which reflected a reduction in residential house sales in the second half of the year as remortgages grew, but good confidence was exhibited by first-time buyers throughout the year, seizing the opportunity to get onto the housing ladder.
“Our mortgage services business is a fundamental part of the group’s operation and we will continue to invest in our people, technology and processes to provide a market leading service to lenders and mortgage customers,” he added.