LSL profits soar despite ‘challenging’ housing market

Ryan Bembridge

August 1, 2017

LSL Property Services achieved profit growth of 37% despite labelling the housing market “challenging” in the first half of 2017.

Its group operating profit rose to £15.5m in H1 2017 from £11.3m in H1 2016 with the help of 37% profit growth from its estate agency division. Surveying profit was also up by 16%.

LSL arranged mortgage lending of £9.3bn during the first half of 2017, up from £8.3bn in the corresponding period the year before.

In light of the results, which were more upbeat than Countrywide and Foxton’s last week, LSL declared it sees further opportunities to grow as ‘a leading mortgage broker’.

Ian Crabb, group chief executive, said: “The group has delivered a strong first half financial performance with revenue of £151.5m which is in line with 2016 despite challenging market conditions and a strong first quarter 2016 which benefited from increased activity ahead of stamp duty changes. Profit was significantly up in both divisions.

“The UK residential housing market continues to be challenging with activity remaining subdued as consumer confidence continues to be impacted by uncertainty.

“Total mortgage approvals for house purchases were 2.8% lower in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2016.”

Simon Embley, chairman of LSL, added that residential sales volumes are likely to “remain suppressed” in the second half of this year.

In future the group pledged to capitalise on digital opportunities in the estate agency sector owing to more consumers accepting online and hybrid business models.

However it added that ‘traditional’ estate agents are likely to represent the vast majority of the residential sales market through 2025.

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