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LSL profits up - but agency group warns of 'suppressed sales'

LSL Property Services - owners of Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons amongst estate agency brands - has enjoyed a strong first six months of the year with group operating profit up 61 per cent to £14.3m.

Pre-tax profits were up 57 per cent to £13.2m and operating profit up 37 per cent to £15.5m. 

Today’s figures, presented to shareholders, are notably more upbeat than those delivered last week by Countrywide and Foxtons.

The operating profit in its estate agency business was up 37 per cent and in its surveying business up 16 per cent. 

LSL’s lettings businesses delivered positive income growth of four per cent year on year while financial services income grew 16 per cent. 

The trading statement notably says “Marsh & Parsons delivered a resilient performance despite a challenging London market with total revenue down four per cent whilst lettings revenue performed positively with growth of eight per cent” - a sharp contrast with Foxtons’ figures for the same period.

Towards the end of its statement the company says: “LSL continues to explore a wide range of options to capitalise on digital opportunities and during the second quarter of 2017 completed the research and planning phase for a new ways of working programme across our estate agency business.”

However, the statement also reveals that last month the group sold “its investment in the Guild of Professional Estate Agents with consideration made up of £3m cash and shares in eProp Services plc” - the latter being a reference to easyProperty.

“Whilst we expect residential sales volumes to remain suppressed in the second half, trends in other parts of our business are expected to be more resilient. Our lettings business continues to perform well, now representing 30 per cent of total estate agency division income” says Simon Embley, LSL’s chairman.  

“Mortgage cost and availability remain positive for the UK housing market with increasing distribution of products through intermediary channels which will support our growing financial services businesses which now represents 29 per cent of total estate agency division income” he continues.

LSL Property Services plc includes over 500 agency offices, surveying, conveyancing and mortgages, pure protection and general insurance brokerage services. Services to mortgage lenders include valuations and panel management services, asset management and property management services.

LSL’s brands include the 282-branch Your Move, Reeds Rains’ 167 branches, and the 24 London offices of Marsh & Parsons. It also embraces LSLi, the holding company and financial services provider for nine estate agency brands totalling 65 offices - these brands are Intercounty, Frosts, JNP, Goodfellows, Davis Tate, Lauristons, Lawlors, Hawes & Co, and Thomas Morris. 

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