Acquisitions at the double for Manchester agency as Lomond Group scales up acquisition trail

An agency at the forefront of the Lomond Group’s rapid expansion drive throughout 2021 has bolstered its rental portfolio by more than 800 properties after sealing another brace of strategic acquisitions.

The deals see Thornley Groves, which operates a growing network of offices across Greater Manchester and Cheshire, launching a new branch in one up-and-coming area while consolidating its presence in another.

For the first time, it has opened its doors in Prestwich – dubbed “the Queen of the suburbs” – after securing Herwald Sales and Lettings. This addition now increases the interlinked Thornley Groves branch network to eight.

It has further strengthened its market-leading position across north-western Manchester, after buying the Barlow White agency in the urban village of Monton near Eccles – part of Salford, home to the BBC’s burgeoning Media City.

The duo of deals takes the total number of acquisitions already completed by Thornley Groves to this year to eight – with more in the pipeline, according to its Chief Executive Officer, Jason Watkin.

He said: “These are two high-calibre agencies with a property portfolio and team of people to match. Both represent a perfect fit for us – complemented by their collective property experience, which spans 80 years at the heart of the Manchester community.

“We are proud of our local roots, so we are naturally thrilled to have the opportunity of extending our customer service to new buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords, across these twin prime locations. We believe both areas harbour untapped potential.

“We now look forward to building on this platform as we explore other acquisition prospects in new and existing suburbs across our North West heartland.”

He described Prestwich as a long-standing and sought-after target for Thornley Groves, with its combination of good schools, transport links covering all corners of the compass, and numerous parks. Its popularity has also soared after being championed by celebrity residents such as Elbow’s Guy Garvey, and being named by the Manchester Evening News as the ideal setting for raising a family. 

He added: “We also enjoy a long-running relationship with Manchester’s Jewish community – the biggest outside London – and are particularly looking forward to extending this to Prestwich, where one-in-five residents are of Jewish faith.”

Across the city in Monton, the deal is designed to act as a springboard for taking advantage of the development potential and buy-to-let opportunities that have been buoyed by a surge of house-hunters to the area, as its transformation gathers pace. 

Jason said: “This is an area that is progressively getting better and better with its village feel, community vibe and café culture buzz. We are delighted to have a foothold in the heart of it.

“It is popular among private landlords and buy-to-let investors and we are delighted to be part of its growing success story.”

Neighbouring Eccles was crowned as the property hot spot of 2020, with prices rising faster than anywhere else in Britain, according to the property website Rightmove. Average asking prices went up 16% there last year”.

The new Prestwich office will operate out of the former Herwald branch on Bury New Road; while the existing Thornley Groves team temporarily based at nearby Swinton has relocated permanently to the bigger and more high-profile site formerly occupied by Barlow White in heart of Monton Green.

Jason added: “Links with both former directors will continue. I am delighted that Michael Herwald will support us in our Prestwich venture. And we are looking forward to harness the expertise of Chris White, who is now focusing his future on property development in and around Monton and beyond.”

Established in 1991 from a single estate agency branch in Altrincham, today Thornley Groves has eight offices and employs over 110 staff. Today, it is now managing 4,300 properties and is set for a record year in both sales & lettings.

Thornley Groves’ other acquisitions this year include Pad Residential, Mint Properties, Tiger Properties, Carr and Hume, Allison & Co and McDonnell Haydock.

It became part of the Lomond Group at the turn of the year when Lomond Capital and Linley & Simpson joined forces to co-create an ambitious new national lettings and sales business. It had been a key strand of Lomond Capital since 2013.

The group has brought together some of the strongest letting and estate agency names on the UK High Street, including Linley & Simpson, Thornley Groves, Brand Vaughan, Michael Jones & Company, John Shepherd in England, plus Stonehouse and Braemore in Scotland.