Property marketplace Rightmove has posted a 10 per cent jump in profits in 2017 with house-hunters flocking to the website more than 1.5 billion times over the year.
It marked a record performance for the property website with the number of new customers nearing 20,500 and monthly visits rising to more than 124 million.
A boost to the number of advertisers on the site was the main driver behind the increase in profits to £178.3 million while revenue rose 11 per cent to £243.2 million, up from £220 million in 2016.
The site’s rising number of advertisers was the main driver behind the increase in profits for 2017, Rightmove said
Boss Peter Brooks-Johnson said: ‘The UK public has once again moved with Rightmove, spending 11.7 billion minutes on Rightmove platforms in 2017.
‘Our focus and innovation continue to make us the place that consumers turn to first and that property professionals turn to most often.’
With one million UK homes listed, the group said there was ‘significant headroom’ to increase product revenue using its hoard of data collected from house hunters, sellers and agents.
Average revenue per advertiser rose 10 per cent to £922 last year, the firm revealed, and it has pledged to invest more in the brand and introduce new products.
The annual results sent the Rightmove share price up more than 2.5 per cent on Friday morning, to 4,424p.
Its shares have boomed since last November, rising from a low of 3,889p.
It has increased the dividend paid to shareholders by 14 per cent in 2017, with the total for the year rising to 58p from 51p in 2016.
In Brooks-Johnson’s strategic report, he said: ‘We believe the outlook for the UK online property advertising market remains positive, despite the continuing uncertainties stemming from the result of the EU referendum.
Rightmove boss Peter Brooks-Johnson (pictured) said the outlook for the UK housing market looked positive despite ongoing Brexit uncertainties
‘Consumers and customers are becoming increasingly digital and therefore spend continues to transition from traditional advertising channels.
‘Our clear market leadership coupled with the value of our products and data positions us well for the future.
‘With average revenue per advertiser continuing to grow from a stable membership base the Board remains confident of making further progress in 2018.’
Steve Clayton, a Hargreaves Lansdown fund manager who owns shares in Rightmove, said: ‘Over 45 per cent of its agent customers are now paying more than £1,000 per month to Rightmove.
‘Spending continues to switch away from traditional print channels towards digital platforms and Rightmove’s pole position in the market leaves it well placed to benefit.
‘Estate agency as an industry is changing fast, with online agents taking market share.
‘But even online agents need to advertise properties and Rightmove remains superbly placed to continue taking a greater share of value within the property world because it’s unique position as the place where home buyers and sellers first come together is hugely valuable.’