Hunters has announced a strong year end trading update. Network income rose by 7% in 2019 to £42.4m (2018: £39.4m) and income per branch was up by 3% to £206,000, compared to a nationwide average of 3% negative growth. Hunters’ growth strategy continued with 20 new branches opening in the year to bring the total number to 206. The size of the new offices increased, with their income averaging £278,000 compared to the £186,000 for the branches which joined the network in 2018.
Major branch openings included Hunters Cumbria and South West Scotland following a management buyout of Cumberland Estate Agents. It represented Hunters’ first move beyond England and Wales, strengthening the group’s reputation as a leading UK agency. Hunters offers both a sales and lettings operation and posted an income split of 66%/34%. The 206 branch network was one of the industry’s standout performers on the sales front, as independent analysis of Rightmove data found that Hunters sold (subject to contract) almost 11,000 properties in 2019, placing them as the country’s third largest agency.
Equally, its lettings operation continued on an upward trajectory as a number of branches made use of Hunters’ acquisition finance support. 7 lettings portfolios have been purchased by local branches in the last 18 months to increase the number of rental properties on their books. Overall network lettings income for the business grew in 2019 by a significant 12%. Those figures come against the backdrop of tenant fee ban introduced in June of last year. The group’s customer service rating was at 96% for the second year running, which has now been above 90% for eight years in a row.
Glynis Frew, CEO of Hunters Property PLC, said:
"Market conditions were challenging in 2019 but we executed a carefully considered strategy to deliver yet another set of fantastic results. Looking beyond the impressive financial figures, I am especially pleased with our customer service rating as the customer is central to our continued success.
We will be soon be announcing exciting developments to our technological proposition. It will be designed specifically to strengthen our customer offering and drive productivity. We will never lose sight of local customer contact and local expertise so it’s important to Hunters that our investment in technology reflects customer needs and enhances our customers’ experience."