Connells Group announces £50m profits in ‘resilient’ results this morning

Connells Group made pre-tax profits of £50.1m last year in a performance described as “resilient” against the backdrop of last year’s subdued property market.

While the profit is down, from £56.9m the year before, total revenue of £426.4m was within 1% of income in 2018 (£429.2m).

Connells also ended last year with no debt and cash reserves up, at £75.5m, compared with £51.9m for the previous year.

Connells, which is owned by Skipton Building Society, also reported that it had 5.5% market share – the largest of any UK estate agency.

While total house sale exchanges dipped 7% last year, it said that this was in line with the reduction of transaction recorded at the Land Registry.

In lettings, Connells has reported a 2% rise in the number of properties under management said that its strategy to address the tenant fee ban was proving successful.

And while LSL is in talks with Countrywide over a possible take-over, Connells emphasised that it “continues to explore opportunities for expansion”.

CEO David Livesey said:  “Connells Group has delivered a strong full-year performance that reflects the robustness and benefits of our diversified business model.

“To have performed so well and produced another market leading result is pleasing when 2019 was another poor year for the market.

“Continued political and Brexit uncertainty inevitably impacted consumer sentiment and the number of housing transactions fell again, but our teams maintained their relentless focus on delivering great customer service and outcomes and we are proud of the progress we’ve made.”

The group  made three acquisitions last year, including Optima Property in Cambridge, and last month its Connells Survey & Valuation business acquired Miller Metcalf Surveyors.

For the first half of last year, it announced pre-tax profits of £26.2m, describing itself as the most successful estate agency business in the UK on a number of measures – profitability, selling the most houses, and with the largest market share.

This morning, the message was strongly reiterated with Livesey saying: “Our results stand out from our competitors and are testament to the dedication, skill and experience of our people who are determined to maintain our position as the UK’s most successful estate agency group.”

He added that there is now an improved feel to the market. He said: “Although early days, 2020 feels less uncertain and, with strong fundamentals to support our ambition, we are well placed to optimise from the uptick in the market.”

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17 Comments

  1. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Strategist

    I am biased but it is a great business. If you join and you perform you earn extremely well and get plaudits, if you are a journeyman or woman, you earn less but you are recognised and team is at the heart of all they do. Continuous training development, and most importantly a core ethos that comes down from on high and is ‘bought into’ by all the rank and file.

    This is why they make profit, a cohesive c-suite, with a strategy, tight control of fundamentals, adherence to KPI’s, and always adapting and evolving. Quietly looking to have each office in the top 3 of any agencies in an area.

    Many talk of leaving corporate agency and working for themselves etc, I found that if you really get a buzz out of being an agent, this is a company where service and skill is soon recognised, both financially and by progression through the company.

    I do not do consultancy work with this company and so my opinion is based only on being a former employee. But just as Countrywide are showing that it is easy to make mistakes and lose your way (another company I worked for until 1989) there are corporates who provide service and value to clients, and have a future strategy. And there are estate agency corporates as was my published view in the Telegraph yesterday, who are ‘wounded dinosaurs looking for a home.’ I know who I would rather work for and who I would use to transact any property business.

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  2. Robert_May

    Head down, think and work like an independent, those people who criticised Countrywide for the plan to go back to the basics of agency should  look here and see that was a sensible thing to do.

     

    Well done Connells!

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    1. ARC

      The key difference is that those at top of Connells understand the basics of good estate agency while those at the top of Countrywide don’t so all their talk of back to basics is great but if you don’t know what that means it’s pointless.

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    2. whatdoiknow58

      Back to the basics of Estate Agency at CWD really?

      Well after almost 2 years into their 3 year strategy how’s that going then? Share price trashed, Branch closures, decent hardworking staff thrown to the wolves, still a 100 million in debt to the Banks and now in talks apparently with a competitor to help bail them out via a merger ( takeover ) who if they had suggested such a move 6 years ago would have been laughed at. Oh and don’t mention the ‘ sale ‘ of LSH to a guy with no money. God knows how the BODS can put a positive spin on this in their annual report.

      Shameful.

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  3. Daly

    The only reason Connells make money is because they pay their employees the lowest salaries possible. Should not be legal to have such poor pay for over 50 hours of work. The commission is so poor it’s not even worth mentioning.

    They brag at the end of the year they have made this and that, yet they loose directors, estate agents and branch managers left and right. That amount they keep bragging about is made out of them stealing agents commission, finding ******** reasons each time not to pay them and budget cuts. ( e.g no cleaning personnel in the branches, agents expected to clean up, no coffee and milk, which is basic to offer in any working environment, no bottled water, expected to drink from the tap and most cases no heat in the winter)

    Let’s take a look at all the reviews they have on Trustpilot, All Agents etc. Each one of them shows there is no customer service.

    So excuse me for not seeing one single reason why they should consider themselves the most successful estate agent. Their success is based on the blood of their employees who they don’t even see as humans. It’s only numbers for them.

     

     

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Are you an ex-employee Daly?

      Strange that if Connells is such a cr*p employer these pages are not filled with comments from disgruntled employees and that their branches have a huge turnover of staff. Neither of which happens.

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      1. Property Pundit

        Probably fired by the state of his grumblings.

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        1. AgencyInsider

          Blimey. Drink tap water?! That’s infringing Human Rights innit?

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        2. ARC

          With that attitude I would sack him.

          Bottled water what a joke.

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      2. Daly

        Not fired, on the contrary. Left as even as top performer salary is still below industry standards.

        They advertise their OTE as 30-40k. I would like to know one person that has hit their targets on that. No one, I am telling you. The only money they make is from mortgages and conveyancing. Sales always with problems, lets always with problems. And I was not referring to bottled water in my previous comment. My mistake. Connells had water coolers in all offices as the premises are so old the pipes are all rusty so tap water undrinkable. In the latest budget cuts, they removed all coolers thus leaving most people without drinking water. I do believe that is the minimum you should expect when working in corporate or any business. Corporate has benefits, thus the reason many people go to work for them. There is no such things as benefits in Connells.

        Also, if you are an estate agent that doesn’t mind vacuuming and cleaning the office that is up to you. If I wanted a job in the cleaning industry then I will gladly clean all they long. But as an estate agent not my job cleaning the toilets.

        Profits are made on the back of hardworking people that are paid basically nothing. So go sing your praises to them. They are certainly not going to make one more penny off me.

         

         

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    2. Northern Agent

      I can’t say I have ever worked somewhere that provided bottled water!

       

      Doesn’t seem a lot to ask an agent to take pride in their surroundings, tidy up and run a hoover round occasionally.

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    3. Property Money Tree

      …I’m surprised your comment has been left published.  Mine was removed – Connells obviously have a lot of influence on here .

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  4. PepeM

    Where’s J1 this morning?!

     

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  5. Pinky and The Brain

    Door knocking shiny suited sleaze balls who force people to see/use their in house mortgage advisors when out viewing and putting forward offers

    https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.connells.co.uk

    if they gave all staff computers they would say goodbye to their profits as only manager and admin lady has a PC.
    Maybe they could buy a few from CW!

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  6. houseseller

    This is great news that good profits can be made forma sizable traditional agnet . Im sure the Connells Board will distribute some of this profit straight back into the people who have been instrumental in producing it-the boys and girls at the sharp end…oh…hang on a minute ??

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  7. Property Money Tree

    I posted on this about my experience of Connells, but it has been removed.  I wonder why…  It wasn’t actionable as it was all based on fact… hmmn

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    1. Property Money Tree

      Unless a statement is false, it is NOT defamatory – I’m assuming my post was removed on this basis, but I don’t know as PIE didn’t afford me the courtesy of dialogue on the issue.  
      Actually, once I get round to lodging my claim in Court, let’s see Connells and/or its lawyers try to silence my voice as was so easily done on here.  Truth clearly hurts!

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