A rise in the number of its advisers on its books helped Mortgage Advice Bureau (Holdings) PLC (LON:MAB1) shrug off a flat housing market.
MAB was one of AIM’s best performers in 2017 and the shares rose again today as sales rose by 17% in the past year to £109mln.
On average, the number of advisers over the year rose by 14% to 1,008 and to 1,078 the year end.
Average revenue per adviser also rose by 3% as productivity improved.
Peter Brodnicki, chief executive, said 2017 had seen a strong performance, given the relatively flat activity levels in the housing and mortgage markets.
He expects little pick up in the market with an increase in first time buyers offsetting a flat home mover market and a weaker buy-to-let purchase market.
Remortgaging and product switch activity is rising.
"We have a strong pipeline of potential new ARs (appointed representatives), and we remain confident about delivering our growth plans, both organically and from new ARs.
“UK Finance recently published revised increased estimates for gross mortgage lending for 2017 and 2018 of £255bn and £260bn respectively, as well as publishing their first estimate for 2019 of £271bn; gross mortgage lending growth is therefore expected to be relatively flat for 2018 and show a modest increase for 2019.“
Broker ShoreCap said MAB’s business model has proved it can generate growth despite a flat lending market.
The company is currently working on a number of tech initiatives, which if successful would improve productivity and create a virtuous circle that attracts more advisers, added the broker.
ShoreCap expects to raise its price target to 600p, though this has already been overtaken by the recent surge in the shares, which added 2p to 628p today.