Countrywide has described 2018 as a “year of reset” for the group, after admitting in its preliminary results that it finished with a loss after tax of £218.2m.
That is an even greater loss than the £207.3m registered in 2017, while the group’s adjusted EBITDA was down 50 per cent year-on-year at £32.7m.
Last year Countrywide announced a new ‘back to basics’ strategy across sales and lettings, which it said has already borne fruit with growth in its sales pipeline, as well as an increase in the market share of listings.
However, despite its overall troubles, the group’s mortgage businesses enjoyed a fruitful year.
Countrwide noted strong double digit income growth across the combined The Buy To Let Business, Mortgage Bureau and Mortgage Intelligence channels, which were offset by the lower transaction volumes from estate agency sales.
Mortgage Intelligence now employs more than 400 regulated individuals, and generated £12.5bn of gross mortgage distribution, up from £10.2bn in 2017.
The Buy To Let Business saw gross distribution rise from £1.5bn to £1.8bn, while Mortgage Bureau saw its gross distribution increase from £800m to £900m.
Paul Creffield, group managing director, noted that the business had set a new record in placing more than £20bn of mortgage business, with more than 109,000 mortgages placed in the year, up from 96,000.
He continued: “We expect further growth in this exciting business as we launch further initiatives to improve the penetration of our remortgage business for customers who previously obtained their mortgage through us. As we sell more properties, this will deliver further opportunity to grow the written mortgage numbers.”
Even with the overall performance of the mortgage businesses within the group, Countrywide’s financial services operation still saw its adjusted EBITDA drop by 16 per cent from the previous year to £16.6m.