Shares in two property firms, LSL and the Property Franchise Group, soared yesterday after both issued trading updates ahead of posting their full year results for 2019.
LSL Property Services, parent company of brands including Your Move and Reeds Rains, says it put in a “highly resilient performance in the context of challenging residential market conditions” last year.
Group revenues were down by 4%, with the closures of some Your Move and Reeds Rains branches. Some 120 branches in total were closed, transferred or merged.
Excluding that impact, group revenues for the year to the end of December were up 4%.
This was despite estate agency revenue being down by 16%, materially impacted by the reduction in the size of its branch networks.
Excluding the impact of the closures, estate agency revenue was down 4%.
In London, Marsh & Parsons reported sales income down by 5% and lettings income by 2%.
However, LSL’s surveying division delivered revenues up 24% year on year, with the start of providing surveying and valuation services for Lloyds Bank.
LSL closed the year with debt of £41.9m, up from £32.1m at the end of 2018. However, LSL said it was comfortable with the level of gearing.
LSL also said that it started this year with a “favourable” estate agency sales pipeline.
The Property Franchise Group said it had “navigated a difficult year for UK residential property” in 2019, and performed in line with market expectations.
It said: “Our franchisees successfully mitigated much of the impact of the tenant fee ban and achieved a record performance for lettings revenue.”
With its full-year results due to be announced on March 31, TPFG said that its hybrid brand EweMove “is also anticipated to show another significant improvement in profit over the year”.
The business increased overall revenue to £11.4m, up from £11.2m in 2018, with a rise in the fees paid by franchisees to £9.6m.
During the year, the group’s assisted acquisitions programme supported 24 acquisitions by franchises and added 2,381 managed properties.
TPFG ended the year with no debt and cash of £3m.
TPFG also said it was confident about this year, expecting sales volumes to rise and the lettings market to remain healthy.
The trading statement also said that its new ‘buy and build’ financial services division would significantly increase the longer term profitability of the group, with the creation of a financial services franchise.
Outgoing CEO Ian Wilson, who leaves at the end of this year, said: “Our ability to deliver revenue growth and continued operational progress over the year, notwithstanding the market headwinds, is testament to the strength of our business and the franchise model.
“Looking ahead, there are numerous opportunities for us to now build further momentum across the business, as we continue to invest in our traditional brands and EweMove remains robust.
“In parallel we will focus our attention on growing a national mortgage brokerage network under our newly created financial services division.”
Yesterday, LSL shares bounced up 10% to a 12-month high of 320p, before closing at 315p.
Shares in TPFG went up over 8% to 233p, an all-time high and the price at which they closed.