One of the country’s biggest lettings agencies is reporting that both revenue and operating profit are “comfortably” up on 2019 levels despite the Coronavirus crisis.
Belvoir reports that since restrictions on the housing sector were lifted in mid-May, there has been a surge of activity due to pent-up demand.
While its franchise offices were closed from March 25 to May 13 they returned strongly. June was a record-breaking month for housing activity at its Newton Fallowell brand and also in its mortgage division.
Group network revenue in June rose by 12 per cent compared with a year earlier, with the lettings business up by 17 per cent.
Net profit is now line with management's pre-COVID-19 expectations set at the start of the year and the company says it also expects to meet its pre-lockdown targets.
It intends to reinstate the dividend that was suspended due to the pandemic and may issue it around the time of its interim results in early September.
Net debt dropped to £5.7m from £6.9m over the first half of 2020, and while franchise network income dipped one per cent cent in the same timeframe, the property division income rose nine per cent and financial services commission increased by seven per cent.
"This strong group performance once again demonstrates the incredible resilience of the franchise business model in the face of both changes within the sector and challenges affecting the wider economy” explains Dorian Gonsalves, Belvoir's chief executive.
"With a return to pre-Covid levels of activity or better since housing sector restrictions were lifted, and the positive impact of the stamp duty reductions still to take effect, we are confident that the group is well-positioned to capitalise on the current market upturn and to take advantage of the opportunities arising from more challenging economic conditions."