The group’s adjusted EBITDA for 2018 reached £33m, down from £65m in 2017, while income for the firm dropped from £672m to £627m over the same period. Countrywide argued this demonstrated a “resilient performance” against the backdrop of both a challenging market and a 19% opening pipeline deficit in sales at the start of the year.
Despite the group’s overall difficulties, its mortgage division performed strongly. Countrywide noted that the year saw “strong double digit income growth” across the combined Buy to Let Business, Mortgage Bureau and Mortgage Intelligence channels.
However, this was offset by lower transactional volumes from estate agency sales, resulting in income for the financial services division overall dropping from £87m to £84m.
Income in the sales and lettings division dropped from £361m to £329m, with Countrywide noting a strong performance in lettings, which was undermined by a 16% drop in property sales.
Following the group’s troubles last year, it announced a “Back to Basics” plan aimed at boosting the number of properties for sale, increasing the pipeline of agreed sales and ramping up ancillary income.
It said that it is “encouraged by the progress” already made in meeting the plan’s objectives, but added: “Nevertheless, we remain cautious about the market outlook for 2019 and continue to closely monitor market conditions for any potential impact arising from the wider political and economic environment.”