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Clyde plans Perth office

ESTATE agent and letting business Clyde Property is eyeing expansion and new office openings after a rise in profits and turnover.

The property firm plans to open a Perth office in the first quarter of next year, as well as increasing the number of properties in its letting portfolio, by about 20%, to 3000.

A further new office in the east of Scotland is also being considered as managing director Gary Thomson is keen to take advantage of Clyde's "strong" balance sheet and net funds position.

A move into the management of student accommodation is also on the drawing board.

Annual accounts being filed at Companies House will show turnover edging up from £4.2 million to £4.23m while pre-tax profits grew from £644,538 to £652,680.

Mr Thomson said: "The main thing for me is our balance sheet is now extremely healthy and we are now on the look out to grow and expand again."

The business has held a property in Perth for several years but decided not to open it during the recession. Mr Thomson believes the market in and around that city is "tremendous".

He said: "In the last few years it has seen strong positive signs in sales and numbers and we will open our office to do sales and lettings. That will give us coverage from Perthshire to Ayrshire."

Another office, likely to be done as a joint venture with Falkirk head Clark Gillespie, is also on the drawing board, although the exact location has still to be finalised.

Mr Thomson said: "There are a couple of areas where we are looking at demographics, the average selling price and number of sales.

"You look at the average number of sales and think whether you can get a certain percentage of the market and see whether it justifies [the investment]."

Mr Thomson indicated there were signs of a strengthening property market in the west of Scotland and said more than 40% of transactions in the west end of Glasgow and Bearsden were now going to a closing date with offers from several potential buyers.

He said the £150,000 to £500,000 price range was particularly vibrant and the whole market was being helped by greater mortgage availability.

The current house purchase market was described as "very genuine and honest" by Mr Thomson. He said: "People are not buying and selling for financial gain, they are buying houses to live in them. Houses that are well presented and reasonably priced will sell in a matter of weeks.

"But until you see a genuine 3%, 4% or 5% growth in value then I don't think you will see a rush back to buying."

However to grow his own business he believes further premises and service lines are needed.

He said: "From the branch network we have got I reckon I can see no more than a 10% increase in what we are doing.

"The way we will grow is by increasing outlets and the number of properties we manage. Whether we acquire or do it organically [I don't know].

"I am looking to set up a different arm of letting to deal with student accommodation as these need managed property and are mostly done by companies south of the Border. I would like to get into it as there is a massive shortage of student beds."

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