ULS to grow “irrespective” of uncertaintly in UK housing market

Shares in eConveyancer developer ULS technology have risen after they announced their full year trading results for the period until March 2016.

The technology firm announced increased revenues by 28% and an increase in conveyancing completions by 16%.

For the financial year to end-March, ULS reported pretax profit of £3.1 million, up from £1.5 million the year before, as revenue rose to £20.7 million from £16.2 million.

However the firm believes the outlook for the housing market is uncertain in the wake of the Brexit vote, predicting a flat housing market for the coming year.

Writing in his end of year statement, Chairman Peter Opperman said: “We enter the new financial year with the outlook for the UK housing market unclear. There has been uncertainty in the run up to the EU referendum and this will continue now Brexit has been confirmed. There have also been significant changes to buy-to-let tax rules, the impact of which, positive or negative, has yet to be seen.

“Our expectation, in light of these various factors, is that volumes in the UK housing market are likely to be impacted but the extent of which is unclear at this early stage. The potential for changes in interest rates would dramatically increase remortgage volumes which we would benefit from. The building blocks we have been putting in place in terms of broader distribution, enhanced proposition and investment in resource makes us confident that we can continue to grow irrespective of the general backdrop.

“The group has had a busy year delivering a big increase in volumes while continuing to invest for the future. As Chairman, I realise that our people are the vital ingredient in making this happen, and would like to thank them for their continuing contribution.

Chief Exec Ben Thompson said he expects to see the mortgage and housing markets to be broadly flat.

Ben Thompson wrote: “Looking forward into 2016/17, ULS will continue its clear and strong focus of growing revenue and profits through increasing its conveyancing footprint, both organically and through earnings enhancing and strategic acquisitions.

“The business plans also to broaden its product range slightly to enable stronger relationships with existing and new business partners, and the opening up of new revenue lines into ULS. The first small part of this new approach is now being rolled out through our Will Writing service with a top estate agency chain.

“The mortgage and housing markets are expected to remain broadly flat versus last year, with intermediaries accounting for more than two thirds of new mortgages originated. However, the effect on the UK housing market of the referendum result is yet to be seen. ULS will therefore continue its significant efforts to secure as many agreements as possible in this sector, as well as growing directly with lenders, and through HOA.

“Technology will continue to be something we invest in. We strive to build a strong competitive advantage that extends beyond that which the business holds already. We want to speed up and simplify services offered to customers. ULS is dedicated to ensuring that it leads the way in its sector, adding value to all relevant stakeholders.

“We remain excited about our growth potential, and hold a clear and dedicated focus towards achieving this.”


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