Online property firm OnTheMarket has reported its first annual profit since launching in 2015, and cheered record traffic to its website as the pandemic triggered huge demand for moves.
The AIM-listed company, set up to challenge Rightmove and Zoopla, saw difficult trading at the start of the Covid-19 crisis as the housing market was largely closed. But restrictions eased in May 2020, and later a stamp duty holiday came in.
OnTheMarket’s chief executive Jason Tebb said searches for properties with larger gardens and home offices have been popular during lockdowns.
In the year to January 31 visits to the website climbed 13% to 267 million. In the second half of the period there was a 30% jump to 151 million.
The firm, which is majority-owned by estate agents, said revenue in the year rose 22% to £23 million.
The growth, coupled with marketing spend being reduced, helped it reach a £2.7 million pretax profit, compared with a £11.5 million loss a year earlier.
Tebb said: “The UK property market continues to be very active, and our significant market opportunity remains.”
The sector has been further boosted this year by a extension to a stamp duty holiday deadline, and the launch of a new mortgage guarantee scheme to help people with a 5% deposit get on the property ladder.
OnTheMarket, whose main office is in Southwark, added that it has chosen to repay furlough money totalling £449,000 that it used at the start of the Covid-19 crisis.