Rightmove defies gloom in real estate

Kasmira Jefford
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RIGHTMOVE, the property website, saw its half year pre-tax profits jump by 17 per cent as estate agencies spent more on advertising to attract customers in a challenging housing market.

The company’s pre-tax profit rose to £28.7m in the year to June, compared with £24.5m in the previous year. Revenue was up 20 per cent at £47m.

The average spend per advertiser jumped by 18 per cent at £430 a month after Rightmove increased its prices by 10 per cent and introduced new products to its website.

Housebuyers flocked to its new iPhone, iPad and mobile phone applications, which together accounted for 14 per cent of all Rightmove searches by June.

The number of property transactions remained at historically low levels in the past months, reflecting an uncertain economy.

“We do not believe that flat or modest falls in house prices would materially affect the outlook, provided that transaction volumes do not take a sharp downward turn, and expect to make further progress in 2012,” the company said in a statement.

The group raised its interim dividend by 40 per cent and returned £23m by buying back shares.

Rightmove closed down 0.6 per cent 1,209p.