Estate agency sets out on aggressive acquisition drive

Ged McPartlin

An independent estate agency has embarked on an ambitious acquisition strategy which could see it treble in size over the next three years.

Ascend Properties is based in Manchester and operates from offices in Liverpool, Leeds, Wolverhampton and London.

Today (February 22) it unveiled the purchase of Warrington-based NW Estates, for an undisclosed sum, and outlined an aggressive growth programme through an acquisition drive which could see the addition of up to 12 more locations within three years.

Ascend was created by Ged McPartlin and David Giovanni who see clear opportunities within the market, mainly driven by the Government’s current stamp duty holiday.

The founders have declared themselves “open to acquisition opportunities”, starting with the purchase of estate and letting agent NW Estates, which boasts 320 homes currently under management.

These will now be added to Ascend’s impressive portfolio of 10,000 build to rent properties under its management.

The buyout is aimed at expanding Ascend’s influence in the Warrington market, and is based on the company’s strong financial position, said managing director Ged McPartlin.

He said the business aims to “fill in the gaps” across the North West region, adding: “If you have a winning, profitable formula even in uncertain times, you can have confidence in expansion even if some estate agencies may want to call it a day given the bumpy ride the industry has had of late.”

And he reiterated that, through acquisition, the business has big expansion plans: “We have six offices now, all run by fantastic teams of industry experts, and we intend to treble that by 2024.”

He said NW Estates will complement the firm’s existing offering: “It’s a great local brand with fantastic people working within it and that all remains as is.

“We’ll add our secret-sauce to it and benefit from the economies of scale that the larger Ascend business provides. Our marketing and approach to technology support will really supercharge the branch now.”

He emphasised the deal is just the start of a robust acquisition policy: “I’d love to hear from estate agency firms with between one and three offices that are in great locations across the region and with a strong property management book and stand out values.

“Strong teams and decent market share are important, but we’re not necessarily looking for the ‘loudest’ branch in a town but those that have deep roots in the community and staff that we can invest in. Authenticity and integrity are super-important to us.”