Martin & Co posted its first years results as a Plc, which showed the Group had increased revenue by 16% in 2013. The group expects to open its 190th office in the next few months, and following a move into Estate Agency in 2012, 97 of its offices were offering a sales service in 2013 and it expects to have 130 offices offering Estate Agency by the end of 2014.
CEO Ian Wilson commented: “Market data says the number of lettings instructions available to agents shrank by 9% last year. Despite this we grew our managed portfolio by 2,400 tenanted properties, of which less than 500 were added through acquisition, the rest was organic growth, with our offices winning market share at the expense of other agents”.
One of the reasons why the group listed on the stock market was to raise funds to help its franchisees expand their businesses at a faster rate. Wilson added “As a Group we are no longer dependent on the support of high street banks forour expansion. We now have access to the capital markets. Franchisees have tried to buy businesses and been told by their local bank that funding was available only to be turned down at the last moment. That is all behind us, if you are part of Martin & Co then you have a Plc backing you”.
Asked if he regretted no longer being a specialist letting agency Wilson explained the Group’s strategy; “I’d be a very worried letting agent this year if I could see house prices rising and sales volumes picking up. Landlords particularly in the midlands and the north where prices fell furthest in the crash might be thinking it’s time to sell if prices get back to 2007 levels. We are defending our portfolio and income by offering these landlords an Estate Agency service, and hopefully their buyer will be another investor. But we are also opportunistically taking advantage of a fast recovering sales market and offering the professional Martin & Co approach to regular sellers and buyers”.