Would it help to buy an estate agent?
Thu 25 Jul 2013
Six plays on the housing recovery
LSL Property Services (LSL)is a similar full-service, multi-brand agent to Countrywide - only smaller, and without its peer's strength in London. This emerged as a big weakness as the capital bounced back rapidly from recession, prompting LSL to buy Marsh & Parsons in November 2011. Now that the recovery seems to be extending to the wider market, the company's focus on poorer parts of the UK may become less of a hindrance. LSL has nonetheless been strikingly resilient during the downturn, thanks to a texbook diversification strategy. Underlying operating profit of 35.1m last year was only marginally behind the 2007 record of 36.5m, despite a much smaller market. Trading at a hefty discount to those of Countrywide, its shares are a bargain.