‘Google of the property market’ Rightmove shrugs off housing fears to post £241m profit
Rightmove, the UK’s largest property portal, saw its operating profits rise seven per cent to £241m as the group revealed it was “not materially affected” by the difficult property market.
The London-listed company, which lists homes for rent and sale, also saw revenues increase 9 per cent to £332.6m up from £304.9m the prior year.
Strong traffic on the group’s website also helped Rightmove raise its final dividend for 2022 up 8 per cent per ordinary share. Total dividend for 2022 was also hiked to 9 per cent to 8.5p.
In what was a challenging year for prospective house buyers, due to inflation and high borrowing costs, the company’s Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA) rose 11 per cent to £1.3m pounds up from £1.1m pounds a year earlier.
Despite this vote of confidence shares in Rightmove still fell 1.59 per cent this morning as investors remain cautious about property businesses due to the economic outlook.
“The year’s changing housing market conditions demonstrated our customers’ resilience and ability to adapt and to continue to succeed, Peter Brooks-Johnson, chief of Rightmove said.
He continued: “The softening from the covid-induced frenetic market towards a more normal market earlier in the year was disrupted in the final few months by the unexpected rapid mortgage rate increases.
“The strength of our results is a reminder of how effective and integral our new and existing products and services are in helping our customers in both faster and slower markets.”
Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said Rightmove had become the “Google of the UK’s property market”
She added: “The business is now the starting point for anyone even thinking about moving home. Estate agents depend on it, and it’s the public’s first port of call for a ‘through the keyhole’ look behind closed doors that was unimaginable a generation ago.
“Putting that dominance into practical terms, the 16.3bn minutes users spent on the site last year is equivalent to every man, woman and child in country spending four hours scrolling through its listings, even if rising interest rates and the cost of living crisis means it’s getting harder to actually buy.
“Although traffic on the site wasn’t quite as busy as last year, when pent-up demand after pandemic lockdowns unleashed a wave of buyers, Rightmove still increased revenues and profits, with users spending more as online continues to disrupt the traditional high street estate agency model. Even the mini-Budget sending shockwaves through the market as interest rates soared didn’t derail Rightmove, with agents having to work harder for sales, and needing to promote properties more, driving even more interest in the online portal.
“Property prices may be softening but with estate agents so dependent on Rightmove, the company’s got a place in the market that allows it to weather downturns and a model that means its future is assured unless another competitor offering comes along and ends its dominance.”