Liquid error: wrong number of arguments (2 for 1) LSL: Fair fee-lenders priority in surveyor crisis; firm reports 206% profit rise | Marsh & Parsons Sales and Lettings Estate Agents London

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LSL: Fair fee-lenders priority in surveyor crisis; firm reports 206% profit rise

Mon 29 Jul 2013

One of the biggest mortgage, estate agency, lettings and surveying firms in the UK, LSL said it will prioritise the

lenders which paid fair fees during the downturn in the current surveyor shortage crisis.

The firm announced profit rises in its H1 results to June of 8.4m, against a -7.9m loss this time last year,

according to its half-yearly interim results to 30 June out this morning.

Group chief executive officer Simon Embley (pictured) said the shortage of surveyors and uptick in mortgage

approvals have caused some of the surveyor capacity constraints evident in the South.

However, he told Mortgage Solutions LSL would priorise the UK lenders desperate for valuation services that

paid fair valuations fees throughout the downturn.

"We are growing capacity for our long-term clients and will prioritise business from those who have not been

aggressive on price reductions. It's been a lender's market for six years. But, we won't be manipulative as we

need to look at this over the longer-term," he said.

Embley said its trainee scheme will produce fully-functioning surveyors within 12 months. In the surveying

division, underlying operating profit was 5.4m, down from 9.7m in 2012. Like-for-like underlying operating profit

was 5.4m, down from 7.2m the previous year.

The parent company of Your Move, and mortgage advice networks First Complete and Pink, admitted its

surveying division had been impacted by a "major contract insourced in June 2012."

Embley said Lloyds' decision to take this surveying contract back in-house had impacted profits, alongside its own

decision to invest into surveying technology and a further 1.5 to 2m investment in its graduate trainee surveying

scheme.

The firm reported significant improvements in market conditions and group performance since Easter.

Estate agency performed strongly, with revenue from Marsh and Parsons up 5% year-on-year. Underlying

operating profit increased by 28% to 8.4m in the estate agency division alone, up from 6.5m in 2012. Estate

agency sales rose 2% and lettings revenue rose 9% to 24.7m, with financial services revenue up 9% to 15.7m

year on year. Roger Matthews, LSL, chairman, said: "It is expected that the benefits from improved market

transaction volumes will be seen in the second half and we are increasing the rate of investment to build capacity

across both agency and surveying divisions to capitalise on greater activity." First half figures out yesterday

showed mortgage lending overall had despite higher remortgaging figures.

Embley said: "What we're seeing is H1 2013 was in two segments. Q1 this year was disappointing against Q1 last

year, which is when the Stamp Duty holiday ended. Total mortgage approvals from January to April were down

-5%, where May to June is up at +12%."

This accounts for some of the capacity constraints, particularly in the South, said Embley.

In June, the firm agreed a war chest of 100m in loans from four banks set to mature in 2017. The facility

comprises a 95m revolving credit facility and a 5m overdraft facility provided by relationship banks Barclays and Lloyds TSB Bank, joined by HSBC and Santander

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