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Rightmove shrugs off housing market blues to report robust annual result

Recovery: Britain's biggest property website has revealed its turnover rose 9% to £337.6m in 2022, while profit rose 6.9% to £195.7 million

Rightmove shrugs off property market blues with dividend hike as profit nears £200m despite slowdown

  • Britain’s biggest property website said its profits rose 6.9% to £195.7million
  • Visitor minutes on its platform were still a third higher than before the pandemic
  • Rightmove said it was “not significantly affected by the real estate market cycle”

Rightmove increased its final dividend payout after another strong annual performance, despite a slowdown in the UK property market.

Britain’s biggest property website revealed turnover rose 9% to £337.6million last year, while profit rose 6.9% to £195.7million.

Following the results, it recommended a final dividend of 5.2p per share, an 8% increase on the previous year, bringing its total dividend for 2022 to 8.5p per share.

Recovery: Britain's biggest property website has revealed its turnover rose 9% to £337.6m in 2022, while profit rose 6.9% to £195.7 million

Recovery: Britain’s biggest property website has revealed its turnover rose 9% to £337.6m in 2022, while profit rose 6.9% to £195.7 million

Trade was robust in the first few months of the year, when property transactions were supported by a Covid-induced boom in remote work, cheap loans and a desire for more spacious accommodation.

Conditions began to normalize thereafter as back-to-back increases in the Bank of England’s base rates and inflationary pressures caused by soaring energy prices began to be felt.

Britain’s housing sector has been dealt another blow after former prime minister Liz Truss’ controversial ‘mini budget’ caused mortgage rates to skyrocket, severely hitting consumer confidence.

Rightmove said the number of minutes visitors spent browsing its platform fell by around 2 billion to 16.3 billion last year as the volume of real estate transactions declined in a real estate market “a lot less frenetic”.

Yet that was still more than a third of pre-pandemic levels, while the number of advertisers on its platform topped 19,000, with a decline in estate and rental agents offset by an increase. home builders.

Average monthly revenue per advertiser rose 11% to £1,314, the second-fastest year of absolute growth, driven by strong demand for the company’s digital products and rising subscription prices.

“The strength of our results reminds us of how effective and integral our new and existing products and services are in supporting our customers in both faster and slower markets,” said outgoing Managing Director Peter Brooks- Johnson.

On Monday, figures released by the Nationwide Building Society showed UK house prices fell 1.1% in the 12 months to February, the biggest annual fall in 11 years.

Two days later, the Bank of England revealed that the number of mortgage approvals in January fell for the fifth consecutive month to its lowest level since the global financial crisis of 2008/09.

But even in this more difficult environment, Rightmove insisted that it was “not materially affected by the housing market cycle, except in the most extreme circumstances”.

He predicts that each advertiser’s average revenue will rise again in 2023 and that total customer volume will resemble what it was in the second half of last year.

Sophie Lund-Yates, senior equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “While a cooling market does not directly affect Rightmove, it does impact the estate agents it depends on for fees.

“At the moment things continue to look healthy in that regard, with price increases of sorts a guarantee.”

“As the market evolves and the number of real estate agents continues to decline, Rightmove may find itself in the future forced to generate revenue in more creative ways.”

Shares of Rightmove had fallen 2.5% to 549.6p in early trading on Friday and are down around 18% in the past 12 months.

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