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LSL Property cautious on outlook

LSL Property cautious on outlook

LSL Property Services has issued a cautious trading update, while sticking with its earnings guidance for the year.  

Group sales at the residential property services provider, which incorporates both estate agency and surveying businesses, rose by 3 per cent for the ten months to the 31 October to £258m (£250.6m).

The company enjoyed 3.5 per cent growth in its estate agency side and 0.9 per cent in the surveying business. 

However, more recent trading was less positive. Sales for the four months ending 31 October fell 3.4 per cent to £106.6m (from £110.4m last year) due to lower activity in the residential sales market. 

Strong performances, however, were seen in the lettings and financial services business, which saw sales rise 7 per cent and 24 per cent respectively. 

LSL stated that with the reduction in market activity levels seen in the second half of 2015 and the uncertainty over the UK economy, it is "cautious on the market outlook for 2017".

However, the company was upbeat on mortgage costs and the availability of housing remaining positive and that the medium to longer-term fundamentals of the housing market also remain solid. 

During the year the firm sold its entire holding in property website Zoopla and says it plans to use the £36m proceeds to reduce debt. Net debt at 31 October was £43.5m, down from £55.5m in 2015. 

LSL noted the government's consultation on tenant fees mentioned in the 2016 Autumn Statement but stated there have not as yet been any details announced, so it will continue to monitor the situation and contribute to the consultation.