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LSL readies for market slowdown following 32 per cent rise in mortgage completions

  • 04/08/2021
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LSL readies for market slowdown following 32 per cent rise in mortgage completions
LSL Property Services arranged £19.3bn in mortgages in the first half of the year, which it attributed to the strength of the housing market.


In its interim results, the group said this represented a nine per cent share of the market. This was up by 32 per cent on the £14.6bn completed during the same period last year. 

Broken down, its gross purchase and remortgage business rose 41 per cent to £13.7bn and product transfers increased by 14 per cent to £5.5bn. 

The group’s revenue soared 45 per cent to £166.5m while its underlying operating profit reached £27.3m, significantly ahead of last year’s figure of £9.7m. 


Activity slowdown 

While activity in the sector assisted LSL’s performance for the first six months of 2021, the group said business had already started to wind down following the tapering off of the stamp duty holiday on 30 June. 

It said its mortgage and protection completion volumes, surveying revenue and instructions and residential exchange activity had “naturally reduced” since then.  

LSL’s residential sales exchange pipeline was up by a fifth as of 31 July. Along with its diversified revenue streams, the group said this meant it was less reliant on housing market activity to drive growth in the medium term. 

Looking forward, LSL said housing activity in 2022 would be lower than this year and profit growth would need to come from an improvement in its underlying performance. 

David Stewart (pictured), group chief executive of LSL, said: “LSL performed strongly in the first half of 2021, as we took advantage of favourable market conditions whilst making significant progress in executing our strategy, which places financial services at the forefront, as described at the time of publishing our 2020 results.  

“The investments we are making in technology and financial services will deliver tangible benefits from 2022 and we are confident they will generate substantial value for shareholders in the medium term.”  

Part of its strategy for the year included the sale of its stake in both conveyancing firm LMS in May and property data firm TM Group in July. These shares were sold for a combined value of £41m. 

It said these divestments resulted in a “strong balance sheet” including cash resources of £43m as of 31 July. 

Stewart added: “We continue to add depth to the management team and have made a number of senior appointments. This will support our strategic delivery and our ability to drive performance improvements from the business.” 


Stamp duty success  

Anthony Codling, CEO of property search portal Twindig, said LSL’s results demonstrated that “the stamp duty holiday provided a powerful shot in the arm for the UK housing market”. 

Codling added: “However, whilst the housebuilders are confident about life after the stamp duty holiday, LSL sounds a note of caution suggesting that the party will not continue in 2022 and that performance improvements in 2022 will be driven by self-help rather than stamp duty booster jabs.”     

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