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Rightmove nearly doubled profit compared to last year’s challenging performance during the height of Covid-19, but it has yet to fully recover to its pre-pandemic levels.
The online property business said that pre-tax profit had soared from less than £62 million to nearly £115 million in the first six months of this year.
The business is still around 15% behind its 2019 profit, which was unaffected by Covid, it revealed on Friday.
Using other measures, Rightmove is doing better. It has grown revenue by 4% compared to 2019, and operating profit rose 6%.
The business paid out no interim dividend last year. It has now promised shareholders 3p per share, up from 2.8p two years ago.
“The first half of 2021 brought further lockdowns, instilling in many a desire or motivation to move home, and the nation relied on us to help them to find their new life, with a record 10.4 billion minutes spent searching and researching on Rightmove,” said chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson.
“The innovation we have delivered to help home-hunters find their happy, despite the restrictions, have been well used – with 200,000 video viewings and 160,000 rental viewing appointments made on the platform.”
People spent 1.7 billion minutes on average per month on the platform during the period, up from 1.1 billion in 2020 and 2019, according to the firm.
The number of visits to the site rose by around 56% to 1.4 billion, Rightmove said.
The business paused recruitment in 2020, but has been catching up in recent months. Recent lockdowns have made finding new staff more challenging than in the past, but recruitment rates have increased and headcount will rise in the second half, Rightmove said.
The board said that it is confident that it can meet expectations “in the full year and beyond”.
“I’m excited about the range of our plans – including our new digital mortgage and rental journeys – as we continue to help to make home-moving easier in the UK,” Mr Brooks-Johnson said.