Right­move up­beat af­ter re­veal­ing a 39% surge in prof­its

The Scotsman - - Comment - HOlly WIl­lIaMS

PRoP­ERTy web­site Right­move yes­ter­day brushed aside con­cerns over the hous­ing mar­ket as it re­ported a 39 per cent leap in half-year prof­its and said trad­ing was hold­ing firm.

The group de­liv­ered prof­its of £24.5 mil­lion in the six months to 30 June in a sharp re­cov­ery fol­low­ing a slump in in­terim re­sults last year.

Right­move en­joyed its best ever March for buyer ac­tiv­ity and said home hunter in­ter­est re­mained high into the sum­mer months, while it added group trad­ing con­tin­ued to grow in July and Au­gust in line with the half-year.

“This gives us grounds for con­fi­dence that rev­enue will con­tinue on an up­ward path, given our un­der­ly­ing sub­scrip­tion model, and that our plans for 2011 will de­liver fur­ther growth in the av­er­age spend per ad­ver­tiser,” said chair­man Scott Forbes.

But there has been in­creas­ing un­ease over the hous­ing mar­ket, with re­cent in­dus­try price sur­veys sug­gest­ing the bounce back is com­ing to an end.

Right­move’s half-year fig­ures showed ro­bust in­ter­est from home­buy­ers dur­ing the hal­fyear, with page im­pres­sions up 22 per cent on its web­sites to 3.9 bil­lion.

How­ever, there is con­cern that ac­tual trans­ac­tions are re­main­ing sub­dued, with lend­ing fig­ures ear­lier this week show­ing the num­ber of home loans ap­proved for house pur­chase drop­ping for the sec­ond month in a row in July.

Right­move said its trad­ing should weather flat or mod­est falls in house prices – al­though it could be at risk of sharp falls in home sales, which would hit es­tate agents. Its rev­enues rose 26 per cent to £42.3m as the num­ber of agents ad­ver­tis­ing on the site rose 4 per cent since the start of the year.

The group said the es­tate agent in­dus­try was re­cov­er­ing af­ter the prop­erty mar­ket slump, with com­pa­nies ex­pand­ing by open­ing new of­fices and firms that quit amid the cri­sis now re­turn­ing to the sec­tor.

The es­tate agent in­dus­try is ap­pears to be re­cov­er­ing

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