Rightmove boosted by uncertainty in property market

Rightmove said it had benefited from the current uncertainty in the property market, with record numbers of people using its website.

The group said the number of pages viewed during July to September was 16 per cent higher than in the same period of 2009, which had itself been a strong period for site traffic. August was its second busiest month ever.

The increase comes despite the fact that property transactions are currently running at around half their usual level, with many commentators warning that the housing market could be heading for a double dip. But Rightmove said it had benefited from the current "wait and see" approach being adopted by buyers, as people who were nervous about taking the plunge spent longer researching properties online in a bid to gauge what was happening in the market.

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It has also been boosted by a rise in the number of people selling their homes, saying potential sellers often viewed its site for several months before putting their home on the market to see how quickly properties in their area were selling. There was slightly slower growth in the total number of advertisers on the site, which includes house builders and overseas firms, with this rising by 2.5 per cent to 18,100.

Overall, the group said it had continued to see "healthy growth" in revenue and earnings during the four months to the end of October, with strong cash generation. At the end of September it had 31.3 million of net cash.

Rightmove said it was confident of meeting expectations for the current year, while it should achieve "significant" organic growth in 2011, assuming housing market conditions remain challenging but do not get substantially worse.

It is paying an interim dividend of 5p per share, up 2p from last year. Since the end of August, it has also bought back 470,000 shares at a cost of 3.1 million.