Sherry FitzGerald owners share €1m payout

Turnover at Ireland’s biggest estate agent rose 13% to more than €42m in 2017

Sherry FitzGerald chief executive Steven McKenna. The number of new homes sold by the company almost doubled to 1,500, while the average price paid for all homes sold by the agent rose by 7% to €351,000. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sherry FitzGerald chief executive Steven McKenna. The number of new homes sold by the company almost doubled to 1,500, while the average price paid for all homes sold by the agent rose by 7% to €351,000. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Ireland’s largest estate agent Sherry FitzGerald paid a dividend of just over €1 million to shareholders last year on the back of strong sales for both new and second-hand homes, according to accounts just filed.

This was the first such payment by the company since 2002. Chairman Mark FitzGerald, a co-founder of the business, is the company’s major shareholder with a near 40 per cent stake in the business.

The number of new homes sold by Sherry Fitz almost doubled to 1,500, while the average price paid for all homes sold by the estate agent rose by 7 per cent to €351,000.

Sherry FitzGerald and its franchisees sold 7,400 units between them last year with an aggregate capital value of €2.6 billion. This compared with 6,400 units with a value of €2.1 billion in 2016.

The estate agent expects to sell 2,000 new homes this year, and is projecting “single digit revenue growth” on average for the 7,500 units it expects to shift in 2018.

This increased sales activity had a positive impact on Sherry Fitz’s turnover, which rose by 13 per cent to €42.1 million in 2017. Its operating profit fell marginally to just under €3.2 million as the company invested heavily in new technology, additional offices, and more staff.

‘Year of investment’

“It was a year of investment,” chief executive Steven McKenna told The Irish Times. “We ended the year with a strong cash position.”

The company’s new mortgage broking business continued to grow, arranging 350 loans for borrowers last year with a combined value of €108 million.

Mr McKenna predicted that this would grow to 400 home loans this year with an aggregate value of €125 million. The company was one of 10 brokers that recently signed up with Bank of Ireland, which has re-entered the market having been excluded under the terms of its bailout by the State.

Mr McKenna said the pipeline for growth this year remains healthy, with demand likely to exceed supply on a ratio of two to one. “We continue to see very strong demand,” he said. The company plans to offer new offices in Tallaght and in Dublin 8.

It ended last year with an average 336 staff employed in its core business,with another 300 employed by franchisees.