Winkworth sees annual revenue, profit 'modestly' ahead of market views
In an update on trading for the year to the end of December, the real estate agency franchisor said it grew its market share, particularly in London.
Prices remained broadly flat over the year, having bottomed in 2018, around 20% below their 2014 peak in prime central London and 10-15% in outer London, with low supply underpinning prices.
"While our activity in the London market remained subdued, we recorded an upturn in transactions outside of London as buyers decided to get on with their lives after years of watching and waiting," the company said.
"Despite the tenant fee ban, initiatives in the lettings and management sector continued to bear fruit, with revenue growth once again increasing year-on-year."
Although new franchise openings were held back by caution over the political backdrop, Winkworth opened three new offices during the year. In addition, it continued to see "significant" revenue growth from its portfolio management initiatives.
Total network revenues were up "slightly" on 2018 while, subject to audit, consolidated group turnover and pre-tax profits are expected to be modestly ahead of market expectations, it said.
The company said it ended the year with a "strong" net cash position and will lift its dividend payment to 2.1p in the fourth quarter from 1.9p a share in 2018, taking total dividend payments for the year to 7.8p compared to 7.45p the year before.
Chief executive officer Dominic Agace said: "We are very pleased with the progress made against a difficult market in 2019 and, once again, to be in a position to raise our dividend payment. Our professional network and robust model have led to further gains in market share and we look forward to welcoming new operators.
"At the start of 2020, new applications for both sales and lettings have risen sharply and, with borrowing rates remaining low and a more visible political agenda, we anticipate that these will translate into increased activity in coming months."
At 1110 GMT, the shares were up 14% at 149p.