Countrywide positive on house market despite fall in income

Kasmira Jefford
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ONLY SIX weeks have passed since the government’s Help to Buy scheme was launched but Countrywide said the initiatives, together with a pick-up in the mortgage market, has created “positive momentum” around the property market.

In its first update since listing on the London Stock Exchange in March, Countrywide said that it was yet to see the effects of these measures, however, on market transactions.

“The next three to six months will be key to establishing whether this front‐end activity ultimately results in an increase in underlying market transactions,” the company said.

The UK’s largest estate agency reported total income in the first quarter of the year of £121m, a fall of one per cent compared with last year when first-time buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Countrywide, which runs 46 high street brands including John D Wood and Churchill’s, said this was “in line with expectations”.

The group pushed ahead with plans to expand its lettings business and spent £4.5m on five acquisitions in the quarter. It is targeting a total of £20m for acquisitions this year.

It also opened four Hamptons branches in Sevenoaks, Amersham, Canary Wharf and Paddington.