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LSL Property says no end in sight to housing mini-boom

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LSL Property Services PLC (LON:LSL) said demand for mortgages and estate agency work was buoyant at the end of 2020, lifting profits significantly ahead of the previous year.

Underlying operating profit for the year to end December 2020 will be around £41.5mlm, said the agent, with financial services and surveying in December especially strong.

This profit is before the recognition of coronavirus (COVID-19)-related net costs and includes amounts received through the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Annual revenues are still expected to decrease by around 15% to £266mln, said LSL, though following the easing of the first lockdown in May 2020, there has been a strong recovery in revenue.

December saw group revenue rise 12% compared to the same month in 2019 with mortgage completions up by 23% and surveying revenue 25% higher

Buoyant house sales are driving this activity, LSL said, with the residential sales exchange pipeline at of December 31, 2020, more than 65% above the same date in 2019.

So far, there is no evidence of a material increase in residential fall-through trends, it added.

Net bank debt at of December 31, 2020, is expected to be about £2mln (2019: £41.9mlm) or about £17mln adjusting for COVID-19 related payment deferrals.

LSL said it expects to report 2020 full-year results on March 9, 2021.

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