Instructions and profits rose at one of the country’s largest volume conveyancers over the last six months, according to its interim financial report published today.
The report from Countrywide revealed that in the six months ending 30 June, instructions were up 17% and its profit had risen 12% to £3.4m on the same period in the previous year.
The report said the conveyancing division of the property services group, which also has much larger estate agency, lettings and financial services divisions, had ‘seen a promising first-half trading performance’.
Overall, income at the group was up by 4% to £258.8m and operating profit up 47% to £22m.
It attributed the growth in its conveyancing arm to increased volumes from its own Countrywide branch and broker networks, assisted by the launch of a new ‘bundling proposition’ rolled out to most branches at the start of the year.
Countrywide chairman Bob Davies said: ‘Continuing improvements in the availability of mortgage finance, developing customer sentiment and the impact of government initiatives should help to stimulate further the level of activity in the UK housing market.’
Chief executive Grenville Turner said: ‘After several years of reporting on the difficult economic environment in the UK housing market, I am pleased to report that we are beginning to see the first signs of recovery.’
Commenting on the results and the wider property market, Jonathan Smithers, chair of the Law Society’s conveyancing and land law committee, was more circumspect pointing out that the baseline from which firms are measuring volume is low.
He said: ‘Anecdotal evidence from conveyancers is that the market is up for lots of different reasons, but the picture is patchy.’
He welcomed the increasing volumes of work, but said that what is important is that the market grows in a sustainable way.
‘We don’t want another boom, because that means there will also be a bust,’ he added.
‘We want sustainable growth with clients buying and selling houses, repossessions falling and prudent lending.’