The group needed an emergency £140mln cash injection in August to help keep it going but having started on a turnaround plan the tone was a little more optimistic.
Properties available and the number of transactions where contracts are waiting to be exchanged had both risen, the estate agent said.
A lack of deals meant revenues dropped 7% to £627mln in 2018 while underlying profits (adjusted EBITDA) halved to £33mln.
Sales commissions fell by 16%, lettings were flat and there were small drops in the contributions from B2B and financial services.
A more detailed update on how the turnaround is progressing will be released with the full numbers in March, Countrywide said.
Year-end net debt was £70mln.