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OnTheMarket CEO Jason Tebb: London’s Covid property exodus is reversing

·2-min read
For sale and sold signs outside properties in London. (PA)
For sale and sold signs outside properties in London. (PA)

People who left London last year as part of the “race for space” during the pandemic are beginning to creep back into the capital, according to the boss of OnTheMarket.

Jason Tebb told the Standard that he was seeing “anecdotal” evidence of pandemic movers returning to leafy postcodes in places like south London and Twickenham.

“Last year people sold up in London and they tried to find property outside,” he said. “They didn’t necessarily find a property to buy and rented. Now they’re coming back.”

While most of the demand is in outer boroughs, Tebb said central London “hasn’t become the ghost town people feared”.

Encouraging signs for London’s property market came as OnTheMarket — the portal majority-owned by estate agents — reported bumper half-year sales. Revenue rose 46% to £14.9 million, although pre-tax profit slipped by a third to £500,000 as the company repaid Covid grants and counted the cost of an acquisition.

OnTheMarket is being supported by a red-hot UK property market, which continues to gain momentum despite the end of a stamp duty holiday last month. Data from Halifax last week showed house prices racing ahead at their fastest rate since 2007. Earlier this week Knight Frank said there were 13 buyers in the market for every home listed for sale in Britain — the second highest ratio in the past five years.

“It’s supply and demand,” Tebb said. “Supply is low and demand is high.

“Stock levels are starting to tick up in the last three weeks for the first time since May. If we see that continue we might start to see supply meet demand.

OnTheMarket today upgraded its forecasts for full year sales and profits, saying the buoyant market meant its earnings would be “substantially ahead of expectations”.

Analysts at Shore Capital said the company was “very modestly valued” with “significant potential for a share price re-rating”. The stock rose 6.3%.

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