Despite the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions on the housing market, a strong performance in the first quarter of the year meant the group reported just a small dip in mortgage completions of 0.4 per cent, from £14.7bn reported in H1 2019.
Year on year, LSL’s mortgage network Primis increased its market share of completions from 8.5 per cent to 9.2 per cent. Both its individual adviser numbers and appointed representative (AR) firms have also risen.
Adviser numbers have increased from 2,277 to 2,431 and AR firms have increased from 860 to 896.
The network has already indicated mortgage activity for the summer looks strong.
Primis reported a 20 per cent increase in mortgage applications last month compared to the same period last year and 16 per cent ahead of June, making July its strongest month for new applications.
Group revenues fell 25 per cent year-on-year from £154.1m to £114.9m which LSL said had been impacted by the closure of 164 estate agency branches in February 2019 and the tenant fee ban introduced in June 2019.
Group chairman Simon Embley (pictured) remained upbeat, however, and said he was “increasingly optimistic about market conditions”.
LSL reported an increase in its underlying operating profit from £12.2m in H1 2019 to £12.5m in the first six months of 2020.
However, this does not reflect £2.8m of Covid-19 related net costs and the charging of net exceptional costs of £4.4m.
It also includes £13.8m of financial support claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been used to pay employees on furlough.
Embley said: “I am pleased to confirm that LSL has performed extremely well during a period of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption.
“This is testament to the underlying strength of the group and its ability to respond quickly and effectively to rapidly changing market conditions.
“After a strong first quarter, we reacted decisively to the emergence of the Covid-19 virus, managing our operations and cash position to secure the position of the group even in the event of the lockdown continuing throughout the year.
“This same agility served us well as restrictions eased, as we rebuilt our capability quickly to trade strongly throughout June.”
He added: “Although we remain alert to the risk of more disruption and will take prompt action should it occur, I am increasingly optimistic about market conditions and am confident in our ability to compete successfully.”