600-branch estate agency giant Connells has revealed a shaky first half year of trading including lower pre-tax profits despite increased turnover. It has also revealed a new online sales progression being used by both its own branches and several Sequence-owned competitors.
The company made a profit of £28.9 million on revenues of just over £206 million, down from £31.5 million during the same period last year.
Connells says the reduction in profits reflects a strong result in difficult market conditions, a marked changed from last year when it reported business to be strong despite a then ‘subdued’ sales market.
Its results, which have been until now the strongest within the corporate estate agency market, also reveal turnover up by 1.1% but the number of sold subject to contract down by 3.8%, albeit below HMRC national figure of 5%.
The company also say its revenues from mortgages increased by 14%, lettings by 6.5% and surveys by 4.3%.
Sales progression launch
Connells has also been investring in a new digital sales progression tool for vendors and buyers called MIO, which is available both for its branches and other estate agents.
Competing agents trying it out include Allen & Harris, Peter Alan, Taylors and Brown & Merry.
The online service has been piloted in Cardiff in recent months and claims to reduce fall-through rates to 20% compared to the national average of 30-35%.
“Our business has produced generally positive results in a challenging period for the housing market,” says Connells Group CEO David Livesey (pictured, left).
“Consumer sentiment remains subdued, impacted by economic and political uncertainty, but we are pleased with our performance which reflects resilience across our business operations.
“[These] results are testament to the professionalism of our staff and the experience within our senior management teams who have worked successfully through difficult markets in the past, and our strategy of having a broad based, well diversified estate agency and property services business model.”