Rightmove profits surge as Brits spend 10bn minutes looking at property

·2 min read
A row of To Let estate agent signs placed outside houses in north London. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed temporary plans to abolish stamp duty on properties up to 500,000 GBP in England and Northern Ireland as part of a package to dull the economic impact of the coronavirus. Picture date: Saturday July 11, 2020.
The first half of 2021 brought further lockdowns, instilling in many a desire or motivation to move home, said RIghtmove. Photo: PA

Rightmove (RMV.L) posted strong results for the first half of 2020, as Brits looked to move into homes with more space amid the pandemic and spent a lot of time viewing properties on the company’s online portals.

Shares in the company fell after the announcement but were up about 1% at the time of writing.

The real estate portal posted operating profit of £114.9m, up 86% on 2020, and 6% on 2019. Its revenue was up 58% year-on-year.

That reflected increased customer spending and average revenue per advertiser (ARPA). Compared with pre-pandemic times, revenue was up 4%. Underlying operating profit was up 91% to £117.1m.

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“The first half of 2021 brought further lockdowns, instilling in many a desire or motivation to move home, and the nation relied on us to help them to find their new life, with a record 10.4 billion minutes spent searching and researching on Rightmove,” said CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson.

Its website registered visits of 1.4 billion, up 56% year on year.

The company paid an interim dividend for 2021 of 3p per ordinary share, up from 2.8p in 2019. Last year, the company paid out no dividend.

In total, it returned £128.3m of cash to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends in the first half of 2021, up from £30m in 2020.

Rightmove's stock was up on Friday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Rightmove's stock was up on Friday morning. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

“The declines in the number of agencies using Rightmove since before the pandemic is worth attention, but for the time being this is being offset by higher revenue per advertiser, as those branches still using the Rightmove platform can’t really afford to stop," said Sophie Lund-Yates, senior equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"That gives Rightmove enviable revenue visibility, and feeds into a remarkable operating margin of 77%.”

However, she warned that with new home developments selling out before they are even built, developers are reining in marketing spending. And they may wonder "why pay for Rightmove to advertise your houses when they are quite literally selling themselves?"

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?

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