Rightmove profits and revenues rise despite housing market slowdown

Emma Haslett
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The property market slowdown hasn't hit Rightmove (Source: Getty)

After yesterday's bonfire of the estate agents, you might be forgiven for thinking property site Rightmove would suffer a similar fate. But today it reported rises in revenues and profit in its first half.

The figures

Revenues rose 11 per cent to £119.5m in the six months to the end of June, Rightmove said today, while pre-tax profits rose nine per cent to £87.5m.

Some 1.1m homes were advertised on the portal in the first six months of the year, while its agency and new homes customers rose one per cent to 20,358, and revenue per advertiser rose 10 per cent to £911 per month.

Online traffic rose three per cent to 131.8m visits per month, with the amount of time people spent on the site averaging at over 1bn minutes per month.

Earnings per share rose 14 per cent to 80.3p, while it hiked its dividend by 16 per cent to 22p.

Shares edged down 0.2 per cent to 4,270p in early trading.

Read more: Every London borough ranked by house price reductions

Why it's interesting

Things started to look very bad for the housing market yesterday when estate agents Countrywide and Foxtons both reported vast falls in profit, suggesting political uncertainty and reforms to stamp duty are weighing on the property market.

But it seems Rightmove is, as Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Danny Cox pointed out this morning, "defying gravity".

"Rightmove’s traditional estate agency customers are under immense pressure from the low level of housing transactions (down eight per cent in the first half) and the assault from much cheaper online-only agents such as Purplebricks," he said.

"The fact that many of Rightmove’s customers are choosing to spend more in this environment is a great vote of confidence in the platform, and a sign of just how dependent they’ve become on the group in today’s digital age."

So Rightmove is benefiting from the fact estate agents appear to be attempting to invest their way out of a slowdown - and its users are as willing as ever to browse property websites, even if they aren't necessarily putting their money where their mouth is.

Read more: Londoners, look away: The best (and worst) cities for house price growth

What Rightmove said

The company said:

Rightmove's trading in July has been in line with the strong monthly revenue achieved in the first half of the year. The visibility provided by our subscription model coupled with the value provided by our products and the strength of the Rightmove brand and traffic give the board confidence in delivering its expectations for the current year.

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