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LSL's hybrid/digital plans - City analyst gives the thumbs-up

Business consultancy Jefferies has given a strong endorsement to the digital agency policy set out by LSL Property Services earlier this week.

Jefferies says the key takeaway from LSL's extensive research - reported here - is that existing hybrid estate agencies are 'not hybrid enough' and require greater intervention by 'real' agents with a strong and experienced local reputation, and more emphasis on the ability of the agency to secure the highest price for the seller. 

"We welcome the approach to digital that LSL is taking. We had been starting to get concerned that they were not fully on top of the digital challenges and opportunities, but once again they were focused on quiet delivery and telling us what they had done rather than what they were going to do" says Jefferies' analyst Antony Codling, who has become an influential commentator on portals, agencies and the housing market.

"We sometimes get frustrated by LSL's reticence to tell the market what it is up to especially when guidance is reduced rather than raised. With guidance being held for 2017 and a clear and concise logic behind the reasoning that their medium term targets are still appropriate, we expect that LSL will go back under the radar and report to us once again when the digital strategy is ready to be communicated" he adds.

Codling also backed LSL's strategy for its London traditional brand, Marsh & Parsons, which the parent company wants to see expanding from its current 26 branches to 36 by the end of 2019.

"With more than 1,000 activity centres in London, LSL believes there are still more than enough attractive markets for M&P to expands into" the analyst says in a note to investors. 

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