Connells Group has announced its full year results, reporting EBITDA of £76.3m (2018: £87.7m adjusted for IFRS 16) and another strong year of activity for its Mortgage Services business with income up 3%, and £10.7bn worth of lending generated despite a more challenging market with fewer house sales.
Results show an uptick in first-time buyer activity towards the end of the year, with this sector buoyed by the availability of good mortgage rates surely boosted by the certainty that the decisive election result brought. This trend looks set to continue into the new year, with first-time buyers now having the confidence to step onto the property ladder and, as with all customer types, taking advantage to lock into longer-term fixed-rate deals ahead of anticipated rate rises.
Connells Group’s new build business was a notable success in 2019 with subsidiary The New Homes Group (TNHG) moving ahead year on year. TNHG reported income up 11%, and the number of new build new enquiries up 12%. To meet the demand from the housebuilder community for its high quality service, new build mortgage business will continue to be a key area of focus for Connells Group.
“We are pleased to report another set of good results and further growth for our mortgage business, especially when operating for much of the year within a subdued marketplace,” says Adrian Scott, Connells Group Mortgage Services Director. “Our results demonstrate the strength in our business and, with over 700 mortgage consultants and dedicated phone-based advisors, we are well placed to build on this in 2020.”
Mortgage Services is a fundamental part of Connells Group’s operation and the business continued to invest in people, technology and processes throughout 2019 to maintain its market leading service to customers and lenders. This included a significant strategic agreement with Twenty7Tec seeing Source and Apply software integrated into the Group’s client relationship management system, and being the first national network of mortgage consultants to trial MBT Affordability from Mortgage Broker Tools. Further investments in technology will be made during 2020, aligned with Connells Group’s strategy of equipping its mortgage consultants with the right tools to ensure best customer outcomes.
“Our focus for 2020 will be to increase efficiencies even further through technology that allows our advisors to work ‘smarter’, deepen relationships with our customers and ensure we deliver on our market leading service,” concludes Adrian.