Property management franchise Belvoir Lettings (BLV: AIM) rises 5.6% to 188.5p after launching an estate agency sales business. Management is piloting a plan to sell residential properties through 10 of its UK letting outlets over the next three months in a bid to boost organic growth.
The running Shares Play of the Week is aiming to benefit from a recovery in the housing market, fuelled by an improving economic outlook and the UK government’s deposit support scheme, Help to Buy.
Rising mortgage approvals are another sign that the market is picking up, with such lending hitting £16.7 billion in July – a 29% annual improvement.
Optimism is high in the property industry. Belvoir's expansion plans follow news last week (27 Aug) that estate agency Foxtons is to float on the stockmarket.
Coinciding with its sales initiative, Belvoir has posted a strong set of interim results. Management have declared a 17% rise in the half-year dividend to 3.4p per share
It has increased half-year pre-tax profit to £732,000 from £396,000 a year ago. The company’s 155 outlets are trading in-line with expectations. Analysts forecast £2.3 million pre-tax profit this year, up from £1.3 million in 2012.
That would imply it needs the second-half period to make twice as much profit as the first-half. What's actually happened is that the first-half period produced weaker results than originally expected as May's acquisition of Redwoods took up management time. This in turn forced the delay of bringing on four new franchisees, their induction being pushed into the second-half period. This gives management confidence of seeing a big uptick in earnings during the latter six months of its financial year.