Rightmove has reported a jump in both revenues and profits in its annual financial report for last year, as agents paid the portal more. However, agency numbers were down by almost 1,000.
Revenue and operating profits both jumped 8%, with shareholders benefiting from a 10% rise in dividend.
Revenues were £289.3m last year, up from £267.8m the year before.
Operating profits were £213.7m, up from £198.6m.
The final dividend to shareholders is announced at 4.4p, a rise from 4p in 2018.
Average revenue per advertiser was up £83, to £1,088 per month.
However, membership numbers were down 3% last year, to an overall 19,809, compared with 20,454 in December 2018. Rightmove said the decline was “mainly low-stock agency branches”. It also cited “cash flow issues for some smaller branches” and “slightly tighter housing market conditions”. However, this dip was offset by growth in new homes developers.
Altogether Rightmove had 16,347 estate agency branches last year, down from 17,328 in 2018.
New homes developments rose from 3,126 in 2018 to 3,462 last year.
Rightmove also reported traffic up by an average of 2% per month, and “continued rental innovation” with the acquisition of Van Mildert last September.
There were 40.5m leads to agents. While this equated to one lead every second, this was down 4% year on year, reflecting a “slight fall in the number of properties listed”. However, the number of leads per property rose 2%.
The board told shareholders this morning that it is confident of making further progress this year.
Peter Brooks-Johnson, CEO, said: “Rightmove’s purpose is to make home moving easier in the UK and the public once again moved with Rightmove in 2019.
“In fact, Rightmove is synonymous with home moving, with 2019 being the ninth year in a row more people searched on Google for Rightmove than for property.
“We continue to innovate, not only for home hunters, but also to help property professionals become more efficient and more resilient to a rapidly changing environment.
“Our culture of restlessness has led to the development of a number of innovative solutions which allow our professional customers to market to by far the largest audience in the UK.
“January 2020 was our busiest month ever with more than 152m visits and that trend has continued as we’ve recorded our five busiest days ever in February.
“I’m pleased that many of our customers who are seeing opportunity are choosing to invest in our digital solutions to grow their businesses.
“By working with our customers, 2019 has yet again demonstrated that Rightmove is a business which can continue to grow in uncertain times.”
Rightmove shares finished yesterday almost 3% down, at 635p.