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LSL ‘cautious’ on market outlook for 2017

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  • 29/11/2016
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LSL ‘cautious’ on market outlook for 2017
Property services firm LSL has issued a cautious market outlook for next year after activity levels dropped during the second half of 2016, amid uncertain economic conditions.

In a trading update posted on the London Stock Exchange, LSL reported a 3% increase in group revenues for the 10 months to the end of 31 October to reach £258m.

However, for the four months ending 31 October, group revenues dropped by 3.4% year-on-year, which LSL said reflected lower activity levels in the residential sales market. While residential sales fell, the firm’s lettings division delivered a 7% annual increase in revenue, while its financial services arm saw revenue climb 24%.

The group now expects underlying operating profit for the 2016 calendar year to be in line with expectations.

It said: “With the reduction in market activity levels in the second half of 2016 and uncertainty over UK economic conditions, we are cautious on the market outlook for 2017. However, mortgage costs and availability remain positive and the medium to longer-term fundamentals of the UK housing market remain positive.

“LSL has very strong fundamentals, with a robust balance sheet and a balanced business portfolio including its counter-cyclical Asset Management business. The business is well positioned to adapt quickly to changing market conditions to deliver long-term value to shareholders.”

LSL recently offloaded its entire holding of 11.3m shares in Zoopla, fetching proceeds of £36.1m at an average of £3.19 per share. Proceeds from the sale are being used to “reduce corporate indebtedness,” LSL said.

The firm also noted it will contribute to the government’s consultation on the removal of upfront tenant fee charges by lettings agents, as announced in the Autumn Statement, in due course.

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