Who Are The UK’s Most Profitable Estate Agencies?

The UK’s best-known properties companies that publish their financial performance figures have an astonishing turnover of some £2.4 billion, DealMakerz can reveal.

But whether they are portals, huge corporates or regional multi-branch estate agents, their financial health varies hugely; and size is no guide to guaranteed success.

So to examine the health of the sector, we’ve trawled through each of their financial results and then ranked them by profit margin. The results are not what you might have expected.


At a glance

  • Portals and larger franchised estate agency chains are the most profitable.
  • Three of the best-known properties companies made a loss during most recent reporting periods.
  • Connells is only large traditional estate agency to be making double-figure profit margin.

1. Belvoir

Established: 1995
Founder: Mike Goddard
Revenue: £6.12 million
Gross Profit: £5.242 million
Profit margin: 85.6%
Reporting period: Six months ended June 2018
Recent highlights: Failed in its bid to merge with rival TPFG, beefed up mortgage selling business, joined OTM and promoted Northwood MD Eric Walker to run its overall business.

2. Rightmove

Established: 2000
Founders: Countrywide, Connells, Halifax and Royal & Sun Alliance
Revenue: £131.1 million
Gross Profit: £98.2 million
Profit margin: 74.9%
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Rolls out 3D tours across its mobile website and enables agents to filter out ‘tyre kickers’ from their leads, share price rises above milestone £50 a share price.

3. Purplebricks UK

Established: 1992
Founders: Brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce
Revenue: £48.6 million (+118% year-on-year)
Gross Profit: £31.2 million
Profit margin: 64.6%
Reporting period: Six months ending 31st October 2018
Recent highlights: Claims to largest estate agency in the UK, has experienced problems establishing its business overseas and recently bought companies with similar models in Germany and Canada.

4. Dexters

Established: 1993
Founder: Jeff Doble
Revenue: £74.56 million
Gross Profit: £34.06 million
Profit margin: 45.7%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: The company signed up its 70 branches to ZPG, buys competitor Benham & Reeves.

5. The Property Franchise Network

Established: 1986 (Martin & Co)
Founder: Richard Martin
Revenue: £5.5 million
Gross Profit: £1.9 million
Profit margin: 35%
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Shareholders rejected attempted merger by rival Belvoir, kicks off multi-million-pound rental portfolio programme.

6. Knight Frank (global)

Established: 1896
Founders: John Knight, Howard Frank, William Rutley
Revenue: £525.9 million
Gross Profit: £163.4 million
Profit margin: 31%
Reporting period: Whole of 2018
Recent highlights: Company was revealed as one of top three property ‘brands’ searched for on Google.

7. ZPG

Established: 2008
Founder: Alex Chesterman
Revenue: £156.9 million
Gross Profit: £36.4 million
Profit margin: 23.2%
Reporting period: First half of 2019
Recent highlights: Chesterman steps down as CEO, company bought by private equity firm Silverlake for £2.2 billion.

8. Connells

Established: 1936
Founder: Larry Connell,
Revenue: £457.2 million
Gross Profit: £104.2 million
Profit margin: 22.7%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: Controversially closes online estate agency Hatched three years after buying it, launches digital sales progression tool called MIO.

9. Arun Estates

Established: 1988
Founder: Prudential Insurance during late 1980s buying spree.
Revenue: £63.3 million
Gross Profit: £12.09 million
Profit margin: 19.09%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: Signs up to OTM ahead of flotation, sales tumble by a third in early January 2018, launches London ‘hub’ based business.

10. Carter Jonas

Established: 1855
Founder: John Carter Jonas
Revenue: £60.8 million
Gross Profit: £11.6 million
Profit margin: 19.07%
Reporting period: Year ended 30 April 2018
Recent highlights: Spends million on new London HQ, recruits new head of residential; David Ruddock.

11. Leaders/Romans Group

Established: 1983 (Leaders), 2016 (overall group)
Founder: Neville Lee (Leaders), Bowmark Capital (overall group)
Revenue: £86 million
Gross Profit: £14 million
Profit margin: 16.3%
Reporting period: March to December 2018
Recent highlights: Reveals £20 million losses in late 2018, buys up dozens of rivals, predicts tenant fees ban will prompt more rivals to dip into deposit funds to keep afloat.

12. Hunters Property

Established: 1992
Founders: Kevin Hollinrake and John Waterhouse
Revenue: £6.7 million
Gross Profit: £854,000
Profit margin: 12.74%
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Signs up to five-year listing deal with OTM, opens 37 branches and reports ‘strong’ first six months despite challenging market.

13. Savills (UK)

Established: 1855
Founder: Alfred Savill
Revenue: £58.2 million
Gross Profit: £6.3 million
Profit margin: 10.8%
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Senior UK team cash in shares worth £4.5 million, expensively backs online rival YOPA with £20 million, global CEO Jeremy Helsby retires.

14. LSL Property

Established: 2005
Founder: Created by General Accident agent buying spree during the mid-1980s and subsequent sale by Aviva of Your Move to Lending Solutions Ltd (LSL) in 2004.
Revenue: £152.9 million
Gross Profit: £11.6 million
Profit margin: 9.4%
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Signed up to ZPG for another five years, reported ‘brisk’ trading despite dropping sales revenues.

15. Chancellors

Established: 1807
Founder: James Cain
Revenue: £25.9 million
Gross Profit: £1.984 million
Profit margin: 7.6%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: Chairman James Scott-Lee killed in tragic accident; company is one of the first in 2018 to sign up its franchisee branches to OTM.

16. KFH

Established: 1977
Founders: Philip King, Lee Watts
Revenue: £71.07 million
Gross Profit: £4.38 million
Profit margin: 6.7%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: Expands lettings network, moves into PRS management.

17. Farrell Heyworth

Established: 1991
Founder: Chris Heyworth
Revenue: £8.44 million
Gross Profit: £551,563
Profit margin: 6.5%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: The company was voted No. 4 ‘worst’ rated by its customers on reviews platform AllAgents along with Purplebricks, Entwistle Green, and Goodchilds.

18. SpicerHaart

Established: 1989
Founders: Paul Smith and his father Alick.
Revenue: £113.4 million
Gross Profit: £1.25 million
Profit margin: 1.1%
Reporting period: 2017
Recent highlights: Company is one of the first to back alternative deposits firm Flatfair, expands part-exchange business.

19. Foxtons

Established: 1981
Founder: Jon Hunt
Revenue: £53 million
Gross Profit: £2.5 million loss
Profit margin: n/a
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Closes six branches, makes its first quarterly loss, signs up Saatchi to launch huge poster campaign.

20. OnTheMarket

Established: 2013
Founders: Ian Springett with backing from Knight Frank, Savills, Strutt & Parker, Chestertons, Douglas & Gordon and Glentree Estates
Revenue: £7 million
Gross Profit: £4.9 million loss
Profit margin: n/a
Reporting period: First half of 2018.
Recent highlights: Reaches 50% agent market share, begins allocating shares to agents who sign up for long-term deals, begins distributing listings via Facebook’s Marketplace.

21.Countrywide

Established: 1986
Founder: Born out of merger between Bairstow Eves and Mann & Co after their acquisition by Hambros PLC.
Revenue: £303.6 million
Gross Profit: £5.8 million loss
Profit margin: n/a
Reporting period: First half of 2018
Recent highlights: Share priced tanked to single figures, Exec CEO forced to drop other non-exec roles, announced £140 million refinancing plan.

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