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Is Brexit driving independents to take refuge in franchised brands?

Increase in number of applicants and rise in branch openings at Winkworth and Century21 revealed this week.

Nigel Lewis

Two of the UK’s best-known franchised estate agency chains have revealed significant numbers of new branches and an uptick in business activity despite the difficult sales market.

The number of estate agents applying for Winkworth franchises has increased by 80% year-on-year, the company says.

This jump in applications is part of an industry-wide trend for independent agents to seek safety in a branded franchise network, and comes just a day after Century 21 revealed that it opened 16 new offices around the UK last year and expects to open a further ten branches this year.

Winkworth opened six offices during 2018 including  three cold starts in Banstead, Poringland and Northampton, a conversion in Fowey, a new office opened by a franchisee in Brentford and the acquisition of an existing business in Mudeford. It now has over 100 offices across England.

Dominic Agace image“Despite a tough year for some businesses, our new franchising applicants reached record levels in 2018, demonstrating the strength of our brand and reputation,” says Winkworth’s CEO Domonic Agace (left).

“We feel that the key to our success is not rapid growth, but ensuring we have the right people on board in the right locations to drive our business forward steadily.

“We have yet to see what the year will bring for the industry, but I’m confident that we have the best people to weather any potential storm.”

Century 21, which is run in the UK by the SDL Group, claims its success is down to the wide range of services available within its branches including sales, lettings, estate and block management, surveying, auctions and mortgages.

January 9, 2019

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