Belvoir CEO delighted housing restrictions have been lifted and expects quick lettings bounce back

May 17, 2020

Belvoir Group PLC’s (LON:BLV) Dorian Gonsalves says the re-opening of the housing market by the government has come earlier than expected.

 
The ban on people moving and renting houses was lifted on Wednesday, two months after the lockdown was introduced but a month earlier than it was budgeting for.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

Gonsalves expects a swift recovery especially on the lettings side as this is a fast-moving market and people might have been fed up with their house during lockdown, while landlords will be keen to get voids filled as soon as possible.

Belvoir has also so far seen a far lower level of arrears than it predicted when the lockdown was introduced.

Related: Belvoir Franchise

Gonsalves adds it did not lose one franchise to financial distress during the lockdown period, underlying the strength of its network.

By Andrew Scott

Source: Proactive Investors

Belvoir Profit Rises In 2019 But Decides Against Final Dividend

April 4, 2020

Belvoir Group PLC on Monday said it will not be paying a final dividend for 2019 despite profit growth, as Covid-19 is expected to hurt its 2020 performance.

 
The property franchise said pretax profit in 2019 increased to GBP5.6 million from GBP5.5 million a year ago, as revenue grew by 43% to GBP19.3 million from GBP13.4 million.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

However, Belvoir noted its administrative expenses jumped to GBP7.6 million from GBP6.6 million year-on-year.

The company said Covid-19 is expected to have a “significant” impact on trading in 2020 and therefore it has decided against proposing a final dividend for 2019.

Related: Property & Estate Agency Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

For 2018, the company paid a total dividend of 7.3 pence, while interim dividend for 2019 totalled 3.4p.

“Whilst 2020 will be adversely affected during the period of economic inactivity due to Covid-19, the group has achieved a very good set of results for 2019, with outstanding revenue performance, having overcome the twin challenges of the tenant fee ban and the economic and political uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said Chief Executive Dorian Gonsalves.

Related: Belvoir Franchise

AIM-listed Belvoir shares were trading 6.4% lower in London on Monday at 94.98p each.

By Evelina Grecenko

Source: Morningstar

Franchise giant Winkworth snaps another independent

March 21, 2020

Franchise giant Winkworth has expanded its presence in Reading with the acquisition of a local independent lettings agency.

 
It’s snapped up AMPM, adding a portfolio of over 80 landlords to its lettings business, with flats and houses within a five mile radius of the Winkworth office in the town centre.

Angela Cox, owner of AMPM, will work the new owner as a consultant.

Related: Property & Estate Agency Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Dominic Agace, Winkworth chief executive, says: “This latest expansion reflects our growth plans in the Home Counties. We are also keen to talk to independent agents or those looking to launch their own businesses in the wider home counties region.”

Source: Letting Agent Today

Property Franchise Group shares rally over 8% on modest progress

February 1, 2020

Property Franchise Group (LON:TPFG) saw its shares rally during the Tuesday session, after posting modest progress for the financial year ended 31 December 2019.

The company’s statement to its shareholders read,

 
“The Group has successfully navigated a difficult year for UK residential property and performed in line with market expectations, delivering growth in both revenues and management service fees. Our franchisees successfully mitigated much of the impact of the tenant fee ban and achieved a record performance for lettings revenue. The Group’s hybrid brand, EweMove, is also anticipated to show another significant improvement in profit over the prior year.”

Property Franchise Group said the challenging conditions owed somewhat to the impact of the Tenant Fee Ban, which was passed in June 2019, alongside wider macroeconomic forces.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

Despite the difficult backdrop, the group reported year-on-year growth in overall revenue, from £11.2 million, to £11.4 million. Alongside this, the company’s Management Service Fees rose from £9.4 million to £9.6 million, and the number of tenanted managed properties serviced increased from 55,000 to 58,000 during the same period.

The company added that during FY19, its assisted acquisitions programme supported 24 acquisitions by franchisees and added 2,381 managed properties. It continued, saying that it had continued to invest in technology, and that its pay-per-click campaign via the traditional high street brands’ customer websites, had seen a 54% increase in leads, up to 47,000.

It appears TPFG have managed to place themselves among the ranks of the successful, in spite of the adverse conditions which have unsettled some of their equally established counterparts.

AFI Development (LON: AFRB), for instance, pointed to “challenging market conditions” as the reason for their underwhelming performance. The Russia-focused company said its fall in profits and residential sales could be attributed to the state of the domestic economy.

Likewise, Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust (LON: SREI) also complained about the backdrop of a ‘challenging market’, which saw its NAV contract and prompted it to adjust its strategy.

Property Franchise Group comments

The company’s Chief Executive, Ian Wilson, responded to the update:

“Our ability to deliver revenue growth and continued operational progress over the year, notwithstanding the market headwinds, is testament to the strength of our business and the franchise model.”

“Looking ahead, there are numerous opportunities for us to now build further momentum across the business, as we continue to invest in our traditional brands and EweMove remains robust. In parallel we will focus our attention on growing a national mortgage brokerage network under our newly created financial services division.”

Related: Property & Estate Agency – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“This is my last year with TPFG and I’m delighted that we have continued the journey that we started with our IPO in December 2013, having materially increased the dividend every year. We are dedicated to continuing to create value for all our stakeholders and are confident we will continue to do so in the year ahead.”

Investor notes

Property Franchise Group shares rallied 8.37% or 18.00p, to 233.00p per share at the end of the Tuesday session 28/01/19 17:08 GMT.

Looking ahead, the company said,

“Early indications of improving market conditions underpin our expectation that the volume of house sales should increase in 2020. The lettings market is also anticipated to remain healthy, with rising rents and increased confidence leading to more opportunities for the Group’s franchisees to acquire competitors’ books than were available in 2019.”

“Post period end, the Group announced the launch of its “buy and build” Financial Services division and the appointment of Mark Graves to the new role of Financial Services Director.”

No broker forecasts were available for this stock, but the group’s p/e ratio stands at 16.17, and their dividend yield is agreeable at 3.61%.

By Jamie Gordon

Source: UK Investor Magazine

EweMove and Martin & Co parent firm sets up mortgage arm

January 22, 2020

The Property Franchise Group – which operates five High Street agency brands and the EweMove hybrid – has set up a financial services division.

 
It looks set to handle mortgages for the agency brands to offer clients.

TPFG has told its shareholders that it intends to pursue a “buy and build” strategy to develop this new division, targeting the acquisition of “quality financial services businesses which are relevant to the group’s core business.”

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

This division will operate as a subsidiary TPFG and will service its existing franchisees.

“This strategy seeks to enable the [new] division to capitalise on the significant volume of leads generated by the core business, whilst the property franchisees are able to generate further revenue without adding to fixed overheads” says the franchise giant.

Related: Property & Estate Agency – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Financial services will be available as a new franchise opportunity, with TPFG holding the master franchise rights and delivering to its franchisees a separate financial services brand, back office systems, a supply of “whole of market” mortgage products and a compliance function.

To kick start the division, TPFG has acquired a 72.25 per cent stake in Auxilium Partnership Limited, a protection advisory business.

Related: EweMove Franchise

Auxilium Partnership was launched by Mark Graves in March 2019 with the aim to enfranchise, educate and encourage intermediaries, such as mortgage brokers, to develop their protection business.

It’s been announced that Graves, who has 30 years experience in life assurance, will now lead TPFG’s financial services division.

By Graham Norwood

Source: Estate Agent Today

Property Franchise Group launches financial services division with “buy and build” strategy

January 16, 2020

The Property Franchise Group has launched a financial services division with a pledge to “buy and build”, by acquiring financial services businesses with direct FCA authorisation.

Mark Graves, who is an income protection insurance expert, has been appointed as financial services director, a non-board position at the group.

 
The group has acquired a 72.25% stake in Auxilium Partnership for a “non material sum”, which is protection advisory business launched by Graves in March 2019.

Auxilium Partnership will now sit under a subsidiary, Aux Group.

Ian Wilson, chief executive of The Property Franchise Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to the Group as financial services director.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

“His industry credentials are top drawer, and he has both the contacts and commercial acumen to help us identify the winners as we scale our broker network.

“With the knowledge that protection assurance sales are key in bringing about improved operating margins for brokers, we are very pleased to have a protection advisory business joining us as our first financial services acquisition.”

The group has plans to make financial services available as a franchise opportunity, with the group holding the master franchise rights and delivering to its franchisees a separate financial services brand, back office systems, a supply of “whole of market” mortgage products and a compliance function.

The Property Franchise Group currently manages the following estate agency brands: CJ Hole; Ellis & Co; Ewemove; Martin & Co; Parkers; and Whitegates.

Mark Graves has 30 years’ experience at a senior level in the life assurance sector.

Related: Property & Estate Agency – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

He has held roles as managing director at Sesame Bankhall Group, head of network at Pink Network and managing director at Linear Financial Services.

Graves has long been a proponent for income protection insurance, and therefore it’s likely the businesses within the group will be expected to embrace protection.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

Century 21 celebrates opening six new offices in the UK

December 25, 2019

The UK wing of American franchising group Century 21 has opened three new outlets in the last six weeks and has a further three due to open in the New Year.

 
Century 21 UK has opened in Hackney, London, and Leicester, while an existing franchisee in Cobham and Esher, Surrey, has acquired south-west London estate agency group Jezzards, converting the pipeline of business into two estate agents now rebranded as Century 21 Luxe Residential.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

The purchase of Jezzards by business owner Dylan Mollison-Coulsen of Century 21 Luxe Residential, pictured below, is the largest acquisition within the UK network .

Vikram Selvarajan is owner of the new Century 21 Hackney office while brothers Jason and Anthony Barana are joint owners in Leicester.

Related: Property & Estate Agency Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

The three new openings scheduled for the New Year are all in London – Heathrow, Ealing and Hammersmith. The Hammersmith office will be called Century 21 Prestige.

The master franchise for Century 21 UK is held and operated by SDL Group.

Related: Century 21 Franchise

By ROSALIND RENSHAW

Source: Property Industry Eye

Jonathan and Elly Dawson buy EweMove York

December 19, 2019

A HUSBAND and wife team have bought the award-winning estate agency in York where they have worked for four years.

Jonathan and Elly Dawson have taken over the reins of EweMove York and say they are confident and excited about continuing to build the agency’s reputation.

 
Both have been working in the business together as it has grown. The agency has gone from strength to strength since being established in January 2014.

They say the impact on long-standing customers and landlords will be minimal, as the day-to-day operations will remain the same.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

Jonathan said: “Both Elly and I are delighted to have reached an agreement to buy EweMove York. With our help, it’s grown in recent years and is now a go-to estate agency brand in the York area.

“We couldn’t be more pleased and plan to continue the hard work and effort required to grow the business further. We will keep delivering the amazing and multi-award-winning service to even more people in and around York.”

Related: Property & Estate Agency – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Nick Neill, managing director of EweMove Sales & Lettings UK, started the York franchise before becoming MD for the brand, which is part of The Property Franchise Group PLC.

He said: “I am over the moon for Jon and Elly. They have been a vital part of the success of EweMove York in recent years and have been working towards buying a stake in the company for some time.

Related: EweMove Franchise

“Now they have been able to buy the entire business, it means I can concentrate exclusively on the UK business and all our other 120-plus franchises around the country, knowing that EweMove York and our brilliant customers will be in safe and reliable hands.”

By Nadia Jefferson-Brown

Source: York Press

Property Franchise Group performs better than expected after fees ban

November 26, 2019

UK-based property company, the Property Franchise Group, updated the market on its trading on Wednesday, reporting that the second half of the financial year to date had remained strong, with management said to be confident that the group remained in line to achieve market expectations for the full year.

The AIM-traded firm said it had set a new record for lettings revenue at a franchisee level in the trading month of October, with franchisees reported lettings income of £5.96m.

 
Its board said significantly, that was achieved despite the loss of tenant fee income, following the ban on charging tenant fees coming into effect in England and Wales on 1 June.

Tenant fees had previously represented 16% of franchisee lettings revenue in those two countries.

The company put the performance largely down to mitigating actions encouraged by the group as a franchisor, that its franchisees had managed to alleviate the impact of the tenant fee ban, alongside “some pent-up tenant demand” feeding through.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

It said that was a “clear demonstration” of the benefits of the franchise business model.

Growth in management commission – the recurring monthly fees which franchisees charge landlords for property management services – had increased 10% year-on-year from £3.88m in October 2018 to £4.28m this October.

The group said it believed it was the “high level of satisfaction” of its landlord clients that lay behind its better-than-expected progress in shifting the burden of cost from tenants to landlords, as clients of its franchisees would rather retain their services than do it themselves or instruct another agent.

It had previously advised investors that it could take until the end of 2020 to fully mitigate the lost revenue from the ban, but its management said it was now confident that the objective of full mitigation would be attained by June 2020 – one year after the introduction of the ban.

“We are delighted that the mitigating actions we’ve recommended to our franchisees have taken effect as hoped and at a good pace,” said chief executive officer Ian Wilson.

Related: Property & Estate Agency – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“We now expect to achieve full mitigation of the impact of the tenant fee ban a full six months earlier than originally hoped.”

Wilson said the firm’s ability to draw on its “wealth of industry experience” and act quickly to support its franchisee members provided it with an advantage in the market.

“At a challenging time for the industry, where many independent lettings agencies are considering leaving the sector, our group continues to show its strength.

“The sales market has softened further in the second half, however our lettings business is outperforming our budgeted expectations.

“Our franchise business model has proven to be remarkably resilient in these testing conditions and we expect this to continue.”

At 1423 GMT, shares in the Property Franchise Group were up 11.48% at 170p.

By Josh White

Source: ShareCast

Estate agents open new city office

November 20, 2019

A new office has been opened by a franchise estate agents.

Jason Barana and Anthony Barana opened the Allandale Road branch on Friday 8 November.

 
In a joint statement they said: “Century 21 UK is the right franchise to bring to Leicester and, by having the benefit of SDL Group behind us, we are in a strong position to stand out from other estate agents when it comes to selling and letting homes to new customers.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

“Having grown up in Leicester, the heart of our sales and lettings business will be based on the communities we have been brought up within, where people come first.

“You can count on a trustworthy, reliable, and honest service with us here at Century 21 Leicester.”

Related: Property & Estate Agency Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Chris Summers, head of franchising for SDL Group, added: “Having met Jason and Anthony on a number of occasions, their determination to be a huge success locally has been evident and with the brothers having great local connections, I feel they will hit the ground running and be able to really stand out as a brilliant estate agency.”

Related: Century 21 Franchise

By Jon Robinson

Source: Insider Media