A YORK estate agent has marked a major step forward in its growth strategy by acquiring a fellow award-winning rival in the city.

Linley & Simpson, which operates a network of 11 branches across North and West Yorkshire, has further strengthened its presence in York by taking over Coalters.

The deal represents the 31st acquisition, and biggest to date, that Linley & Simpson has completed since it first opened its doors in 1997.

The independent agency is also on the move itself following the latest deal.

It is relocating from its York city centre branch in Micklegate to its new and bigger base previously occupied by Coalters in Low Ousegate.

Director Will Linley said: “We are delighted to acquire an agency of the size, stature and reputation of Coalters into the Linley & Simpson family.

“This represents a game-changing move for us in our York city centre heartland and propels us into an exciting new era.

“Both of us have served the people of York and its wider districts for more than 10 years. And the acquisition is a tailor-made fit for us.

“We have ambitious plans to develop, improve and innovate our business and, strategically, York is central to this continuing journey of planned growth.”

Mr Linely said he believes there are few areas in the UK that command the “popularity that York continues to enjoy” adding: “We can only see this momentum accelerating to keep pace with demand. This acquisition signals our confidence in York’s future - and investing in it.”

Following the deal and the transfer of Coalters staff, Linley & Simpson now employs more than 180 staff across Yorkshire.

Reuben Barrett, founder and managing director of Coalters, said: “We launched the business from my spare bedroom in 2007 and, thanks to our team, I’m proud of how far we have come and what we have achieved.

“We share a lot of synergy with Linley & Simpson and the pooling of our combined expertise and insight will create a really strong platform.”