Industry giant Connells has increased its market share to 10% making it the largest estate agency in the UK by a country mile and the largest by branch network, with 1,250 branches or 7% of all offices within the industry.
These figures are almost exclusive due to its acquisition of Countrywide in March last year, but also its more recent purchases including Hall & Benson and Holroyds.
Its final results for 2021 show that Connells also paid off half of the £253 million loan from owner Skipton building society that it used to find the acquisition, which included paying £138 million to its shareholders and paying off all its considerable debt.
Total revenue leapt to £1bn (2020: £375m) with pre-tax profits of £111.3m (2020: £51.8m) including £27.1 million from its disposal of software firm the TM Group.
“2021 was a historic year for Connells Group with the successful acquisition of Countrywide, as well as numerous other strategic moves, consolidating our position as the largest and most successful property services group in the UK,” says CEO David Livesey (pictured).
“Our people have come together brilliantly, propelling our enlarged business forward to achieve record results.”
Connells results also dispel the arguments put forward by some critics at the time of the acquisition that Countrywide was a ‘bad apple’ that could damage the overall business.
This is partly due to the super-hot sales market last year, which drove up sales exchanges within the wider group by 44%, buyer registrations by 38%, drove up new homes sales by 16%, created £75m more income from mortgage lending and pepped up its conveyancing and surveying business results.
“A year ago, we took the opportunity to integrate two of the leading businesses in the property sector and, with a clear strategy, confidence and drive, we’re very proud to have achieved everything we set out to do, surpassing all expectation and creating a powerhouse group within the industry,” says Livesey.
“This venture has proven not only to be a great triumph for our business as a whole but has opened many more opportunities for our people and our customers.”