Countrywide has put five of its offices up for sale with the intention of leasing them back.
All five are with 574, the online auction arm launched in January by Countrywide commercial property brand Lambert Smith Hampton.
Two of the properties are in Scotland – a Countrywide branch in Airdrie (guide price £110,000); and Slater Hogg & Howison at Bridge of Weir (£130,000).
The three others are in England – Dixons in Castle Bromwich (£160,000); Country & Waterside in St Mawes, Cornwall (£150,000); and Bridgfords in Whitby (£250,000).
All are up for sale on June 26. Terms vary, but for example the Bridgfords office would be leased back for ten years, with a break in the fifth year, at a rent of £22,000 per year.
A spokesperson for Countrywide confirmed that all five offices are fully owned by the business, and that the freeholds or their equivalents are being sold on a sale and leaseback arrangement.
Countrywide has previously sold on this basis only very occasionally, when there was a specific request.
Nor will there be further sales, as the five offices being sold are the extent of Countrywide’s freehold estate.
The spokesperson said: “Our brands, branch network and the colleagues who work within them remain at the heart of our customer offering.
“It makes absolute sense to transact the limited freehold estate we have on a sale and leaseback basis as we are not a property investment business.
“This arrangement is commonly adopted where capital can be deployed in more efficient ways for the business. It does not impact on our staff or customers in any way.”
Countrywide shares took another hit on the stock market yesterday, with the price falling at one stage by over 6% to around 4.8p. They recovered slightly to end the day at 4.9p.