This can be evidenced by the fact that we currently have in excess of 20,000 individuals looking to acquire businesses via our dedicated website, in addition to the resurgence of privately owned multiple operators also looking to expand their portfolios.
North West pub companies continue to be particularly acquisitive, often having a war chest of funds to purchase quality businesses whether located within city centre hotspots, affluent residential suburbs or destination drive-to locations.
It is encouraging to report that the volume of distressed driven disposals has declined over the course of the past 12 months and that some 80% of the disposals transacted by Christie + Co during 2014 were sold for ongoing pub use. Consequently there are more pubs in private ownership than ever before, and we confidently predict the number of privately owned free houses (currently at 20,000) to overtake the number of tenanted and leased pubs by the end of 2015.
Businesses that can be incorporated within the managed pub model remain in particularly high demand and we are constantly seeking quality freehold acquisitions on behalf of North West pub companies and national operators. This level of demand has naturally led to an increase in the overall value of prices achieved, during 2014 the average pub price increased by 8.6% and we expect this trend to continue during the course of 2015.