A trading statement this morning by LSL Property Services - owners of Reeds Rains, Your Move and Marsh & Parsons - shows that for the four months to the end of October, its estate agency revenue slumped 19 per cent.
This was partly caused by the branch closure programme implemented earlier this year, but even excluding the impact of the shut offices the company admits that agency revenue for the four months in question was down five per cent.
Marsh & Parsons - faced specifically with the challenges of a poor London market hit by Brexit uncertainty and high stamp duty - saw a four per cent drop in revenue in that period.
Group revenues for the 10 months ending October 31 decreased by three per cent to £262.8m (2018: £270.5m) including the impact of the reshaping of the Your Move and Reeds Rains branch networks announced in February.
However, group income was bolstered by stronger performances by LSL’s financial services and surveying divisions.
The value of LSL's mortgage completions in the 10 months to October 31 2019 was £26 billion, a seven per cent increase year on year.
Over the four months to October 31, the surveying division saw revenue rise 18 per cent which, according to this morning’s statement, “included a material contribution from the successful commencement of the Lloyds Bank plc surveying and valuation services relationship awarded in May 2018 and commenced in the second half of September 2018.”
Group chief executive Ian Crabb says the statement shows “a creditable performance” in the first 10 months of the calendar year.
“This performance has been delivered during a period when market activity levels have remained subdued given the continued uncertainty over the UK and global political and economic environment. LSL's performance illustrates the benefits of the group's diversified strategy and the self-help initiatives [closure programme] being taken to respond to current market conditions" says Crabb.
He adds: “Until we have greater clarity on the political backdrop, we remain cautious on the market outlook for 2020 and we will continue to monitor market conditions closely.”