The first half of this year saw ‘depressed’ activity in a ‘difficult’ housing market, with a 12% drop in sales, Countrywide reported to the City this morning.
Although its total income for the first half of this year was up, by just 1% to £338.6m, operating profits were slashed by 61% to £16.2m – down from £41.6m for the same period last year.
In the first half of this year, Countrywide offices exchanged on 27,579 residential properties, down from 31,480 in the same period last year. Its London and premier brands exchanged on 2,861, down from 3,110.
As a result, its estate agency division brought in £86.732m, down from £101.313m, and its London and premier brands brought in £56.816m, slightly down from £57.840m.
Bright spots were the commercial division, and residential lettings, where income and EBITDA rose 7%.
Countrywide also reported that in the first half of this year, it has bought 17 businesses for a total of £41.4m.
This morning’s report also touches on the UK’s largest chain’s reorganisation, named Building Our Future, with its ambitious target to double the size of Countrywide by 2020.
As Foxtons and Connells have also told shareholders, Countrywide expects the residential market to pick up although chairman Grenville Turner said the group remained “cautious”.
He said: “We are beginning to see the green shoots of a post-election recovery and with a typical cycle of 13-14 weeks to convert pipeline to exchange, this is encouraging for building positive momentum into 2016.”
Countrywide shares fell 22p (4%) to 531.5p at the close. Other property share prices included Hunters at 87p.
The firm is now headed by ex-Countrywide boss Harry Hill, who took it to the stock market earlier this month on July 2 at a starting price of 68p.