Rightmove profits rise 10%, but agency numbers fall

Mark Johnson's picture

Online property website Rightmove has reported a 10% rise in revenue and profits for the half year, but a sluggish UK property market has led to the number of agents it has using its site falling by 3%.

Revenue came in at £143.9m, with underlying profit registering at £111m. The half year dividend for shareholders rose by 12% or 0.3p to 2.8p per share.

The London-based firm said membership numbers were down 1% since the start of the year to 20,209, reflecting a 3% decline in mainly low-stock agency branches offset, it said, by strong growth in New Homes development numbers.

Peter Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, said: “In the first half of 2019 home hunters visited Rightmove a record 845 million times. 

“Home hunters continue to turn to Rightmove first to search and research properties in the only place you can see virtually the whole of the UK market. 

“Our restless innovation delivers the fastest and easiest way to ‘find your happy’ from the 1.1 million UK residential properties on Rightmove.

Agency pressures

“A 4.6% drop in transactions compared to 2018 has put pressure on some low-stock agency branches and created opportunity for others. 

“We’re focused on helping all our customers succeed by delivering the most significant and effective exposure for their properties and brands to compete to win home sale instructions and also by being the largest source of high quality leads. 

“We’ve seen strong adoption of our new digital solutions and existing packages by new homes developers and agents as they recognise the value of the UK’s largest property audience and Rightmove’s unique data insight. 

Rental acquisition 

Rightmove also announced it has made a strategic purchase in the rental sector by buying Van Mildert, a company that provides tenant referencing services and rent guarantee insurance products.

The initial price for the company is £16m, but includes deferred payments which could top another £4m, the company said in a stock market statement on Friday.

Van Mildert has a strong brand and is well positioned within the rental marketplace, said Rightmove, which is headquartered in London. 

The products and operational experience of the company will further augment the Rightmove Tenant Passport proposition and Rightmove’s vision of servicing the under-served rental marketplace.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Van Mildert, a highly respected tenant referencing company, to the Rightmove family which will augment our Rightmove Tenant Passport in our quest to make renting a property faster, easier and more efficient for tenants, landlords, and agents alike.”

Rightmove’s share price, which has been under pressure of late, was down 1% in early trading in London at £5.06.

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