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Ascend makes second acquisition as it ramps up to buy TEN agencies

The build-to-rent and lettings specialist says it wants to expand fast over the next three years largely through acquisition.

Nigel Lewis

Five-city estate agency Ascend Properties has bought Burnley lettings and property management rival Rent Smart UK for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is part of its plans to buy ten agencies over the next three years as it bids to become a significant and largely northern estate agency player. This is the second acquisition following its purchase of NW Estates last month.

Ascend is a three-office Manchester-based agency with outposts in Liverpool, London, Leeds and Wolverhampton operating in the sales, letting and build-to-rent markets.

giovanni ascendIt was founded by David Giovanni (left) and Ged McPartlin (main image, centre)) during the mid-noughties and in 2018 entered into a build-to-rent portfolio management partnership with Gatehouse Bank, two of whose directors sit on Ascend’s board as non-execs.

Rent Smart UK is an older company, having started trading in 2006. It has grown into a significant residential and commercial property management business with a 240-unit portfolio.


As well as private landlords, it has several corporate clients including banks and high street retail operators.

melanie hughes rentsmart estate agencyBut unlike other portfolio-focused acquisitions, Rent Smart will retain its name and staff including founding director and now former shareholder Melanie Hughes (pictured), who will continue to manage the office day to day alongside the Ascend management team.

McPartlin, who is MD of Ascend Properties says: “We’re quickly acting on our ambitions to expand our sales, lettings and management reach across the North of England and we’d still love to hear from smaller independents that would be interested in a sale or a collaboration.

“As you can see, we don’t seek to simply sweep in and change everything and generally want to maintain existing brands and certainly the people and we want to work with businesses that are already well regarded in their areas.”

March 9, 2021

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