Countrywide says housing market recovery at early stage

Property services group Countrywide has revealed it arranged 18,016 mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 26 per cent on the end of 2012.

In an update ahead of its final results for 2013, Countrywide reported total income of £171m for the final three months of 2013 and a total of 60,646 mortgage arranged last year, up 12 per cent of 2012.

As a result, bosses argued while this recovery in market volumes was encouraging it had to be put in perspective.

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Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, flagged up that the last 12 months of Bank of England mortgage volumes data showed only 718,000 approvals compared with 1.4m in 2006.

After the most difficult five-year period ever in the housing market, Mr Turner said the recovery is still at an early stage.

The key to a lasting recovery is assisting first-time buyers, he argued, and the general housing market outside of London and the south east.

Mr Turner said: “It is extremely pleasing to end 2013 with such strong results showing real momentum across all of our trading divisions.

“Recent market data and healthy pipelines going into 2014 indicate an encouraging environment for Countrywide to deliver further significant growth.”