The company reported a pretax, pre-items profit of
It swung to a pretax profit of
Income was up 17% from its estate agency business, 20% from lettings and 13% from financial services. House sale exchanges handled by its estate agents were up 20% in the first half, and it said its pipeline of agreed house sales is 27% higher than a year ago.
Countrywide joins peers in the sector in reporting surging results thanks to the recovery in the
"Even though the rate of growth in the
Countrywide listed on the stock market in March last year, pledging strong returns for its shareholders. Last month, it said it would pay a special dividend of
On Thursday, it said it will pay an interim dividend of
It also said it is now targeting an ordinary dividend of between 35% and 45% of annual reported profit after tax but before amortisation, up from the 25% to 35% target it had set at the time of its IPO.
"In the absence of a major acquisition and assuming the continuation of the recent recovery in the residential housing market, the board anticipates that starting in 2015 the combined value of the ordinary dividend and any supplemental return of cash will be between 60% and 70% of reported group profits for the financial year after tax but before any amortisation," it said.
"This will be further augmented by the realisation of value from the remaining Zoopla shareholding. Our present intention is that supplemental return of cash will be by way of a special dividend or a share repurchase programme depending on the prevailing market conditions and the views of our shareholders," it added.
Countrywide shares were up 2.5% at
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