Rightmove announced both revenues and profits up in the first half of this year, driven by growth in its agency and new homes business. Agents contributed growth of £7.9m, driven by membership fee increases as well as purchases of additional advertising packages.
Overall, revenue rose 11% to £119.5m, with underlying profits up 11% to £91m, and operating profits up 9% to £87.6m. Its operating margin was 76.2%.
Rightmove will be paying an increased interim dividend of 22p to shareholders.
It also announced record numbers of agents and developers advertising on the portal with numbers up 1% since the start of the year, at 20,358 in total. There was growth in both high street and digital agency numbers.
The average advertiser paid 10% more than this time a year ago, at £911 per month. Agents easily outnumbered new homes advertisers, with a record 17,589 agents listing on Rightmove, paying an average of £865 an office, up from £789 a year ago. As at June 30, nearly 2,000 branches were spending £1,500 per month or more after taking up the Optimiser package launched in 2015.
Revenue from agents stood at £90.6m, up 10% from the first half of last year (£82.7m).
Record traffic meant that in the first half of the year, Rightmove attracted over 3,000 visits every minute – a record total of 790m visits in six months.
Rightmove also had one third more properties listed on it than any other portal, saying it listed 1.1m properties – almost the entire market. It also said it generated over six times more leads for agents than its nearest competitor.
Peter Brooke-Johnson, chief executive who took up his position this summer, said: “Our aim has always been to help our agents and developers succeed by delivering great value marketing and building strong relationships to support their ambitions.
“This approach continues to serve us well as we have grown our customer base to an all-time high demonstrating that Rightmove is the site of choice, not only for Britain’s home movers, but also its property professionals.
“With consumers and customers becoming increasingly digital our clear market leadership coupled with the value of our products and data positions us well for the future.”
City analyst Anthony Codling of Jefferies said this morning: “Agents might complain and new home developers might moan about the fees they pay to Rightmove, but both are spending more and more.
“At the half year Rightmove’s revenues and underlying operating profits were up 11% each and the operating profit margin was steady at just over 76%, a level which must be hard to swallow for the estate agents battling a tough second-hand housing market.
“Come rain or shine it appears Rightmove is able to make super normal profits.
“Almost 2,000 branches now use the Optimizer package and are spending a minimum of £1,500 per month, up from £1,000 a year ago.
“The Group often refers to a holy grail ARPA [advertising revenue per advertiser] figure of £2,500 per month and today it is a step closer to that aspiration.”