Cumberland Estate Agents has undergone a management buyout.

The firm, formerly part of the Cumberland Building Society Group, has been sold to Graeme Macleod, the agency’s managing director for the last three years.

The buyout has been backed by national estate agency chain Hunters, which is one of the top five in the UK.

The Cumberland network of estate agents will become a franchise of Hunters and be rebranded.

Hunters will keep a presence in Cumberland Building Society branches.

It plans to open a large central hub office in Carlisle.

Franchise owner Mr Macleod said: “This is a really positive development for this business and the region.

The last three years has seen some fabulous achievements by the team, cementing our place at the heart of the North West’s property community, and seeing us named as one of the top three per cent of estate agents in the country in the 2019 Best Estate Agent Guide.

“Becoming part of a respected national brand will enable us to deliver an even better service to our customers through being able to access better technology and best practice.

“It’s exciting to see a nationally renowned business willing to invest in the region, and that’s something that the team here can be proud of.”

It will continue to have a close relationship with The Cumberland, which will provide support to the agency during a transition period, and all estate agency staff will transfer to the new company.

The estate agency had been part of The Cumberland since1989.

Cumberland chief executive Des Moore said: “This development is an important part of our strategy towards building a sustainable Cumberland.

“For the building society, this allows us to focus more on serving the people and businesses of our region in our main areas of mortgages, savings and current accounts.

“It gives the estate agency the opportunity to benefit from the resource and expertise offered by Hunters. We would like to thank Graeme and his team for all of their hard work and wish them well for the future.”