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Better estate of affairs for agent; Company expects to report profit this year.

Byline: Aled Blake

Peter Alan is one of the capital's most respected estate agents SOUTH Wales estate agency Peter Alan says it willmake a profit this year after the credit crunch triggered losses of more than pounds 2m in 2008.

The company, part of the Principality Building Society, was hit by the crisis which affected the world's global financial markets.

It meant fewer people were able to find finance to move home or enter the housing market and resulted in Peter Alan reporting a pre-tax loss of pounds 2.016m in the year to December 31 - that compared with a profit of pounds 833,889 the year before.

But the business said it will return to profitability - "unless something unforeseen happens".

PeterAlan managing director Mick McGuire confirmed that the group would make a "small profit" this year. He said that Peter Alan has recruited more than 40 people this year, taking its total workforce to more than 200.

"Last year was linked to the credit crunch, the first time we have had such a crisis in the UK," he said.

"Against that backdrop we did cut our costs. This year we will make a profit overall and a reasonable profit at our surveying business. For pretty much every month this year our trading position has improved and for the last four or five months we have been selling twice as many houses as we sold over the same period last year."

Mr McGuire said the housing market has returned to stability since the credit crunch,with the low in the market having been reached in 2008.

"Since then we have had the Bank of England's quantitative easing programme and the level of mortgage finance has begun to become more available," he said.

"It's still not anywhere near back to a normalmarket but as mortgage finance has become steadily more available, we have seen a return to a more sustainable market with more first-time buyers coming in."

That is a stark difference to the end of last year when neither category of buyer were in the market, said Mr McGuire.

He added: "In the summer of thisyear, the market has returned to a balanced one, around 45% of it is made up of second-time buyers, around 25% first-time buyers and the rest investors, building portfolios. The housing market will be affected by the recession and the longer the recession goes on, the longer that will continue.

But last year was a one-off year because of the credit crunch.

"TheUKhas never had a credit crunch before and we have never seen UK banks stressed like that. But slowly confidence is recovering."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 27, 2009
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