Sherry FitzGerald profits bounce back on recovery

Estate agent sold more than €1.5bn worth of residential properties last year

Sherry FitzGerald is Ireland’s biggest estate agent, selling more than 5,000 units  of residential properties last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sherry FitzGerald is Ireland’s biggest estate agent, selling more than 5,000 units of residential properties last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Profits at estate agent Sherry FitzGerald bounced back spectacularly in 2014 following a strong recovery in the Irish residential and commercial markets.

The latest accounts for Sherry FitzGerald (Ireland) Holdings Ltd show it made a pretax profit of €2.9 million last year, up from €100,000 in 2013. Turnover rose 49 per cent to €31 million.

Sherry FitzGerald is Ireland’s biggest estate agent, selling more than 5,000 units or €1.5 billion worth of residential properties last year. Its wholly-owned core business in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway sold more than of 2,000 properties, valued at just under €1 billion. Its franchisees shifted the balance.

The average number of employees rose to 271 last year from 224 in 2013 with the group adding branches in Blackrock and Rathmines in Dublin. This resulted in payroll costs rising 41 per cent to €21.5 million.

This year, the estate agent has opened offices in the Dublin suburbs of Sundrive and Foxrock. Its staff numbers now top 300. The group has 22 company-owned offices and 68 franchised outlets.

Sherry FitzGerald group finance director Steven McKenna said the firm was on target to post a single-digit rise in turnover this year and a profit margin in line with 2014. “We are seeing positive results coming through in 2015,” he said.

The accounts show Sherry FitzGerald had deferred tax assets of €1.3 million at the end of 2014, representing the tax value of unutilised trading losses carried forward.

Growth in house prices in Dublin has slowed this year due to the effects of new mortgage limits set by the Central Bank, while the supply of new homes continues to be a issue.

In 2014, about 11,000 units were built in the State. Sherry FitzGerald estimates the figure for this year will be between 12,000 and 13,000, with 10 per cent growth on that likely in 2016.

This is below the 22,500 units it believes need to be built each year to keep pace with demand and population growth.