(Reuters) - UK property website Rightmove said on Friday the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a number of property deals falling through and forced the company to offer discounts, pointing to more pain for estate and letting agents.
Rightmove said it was discounting customers’ invoices by 75% for the next four months, leading to a hit of 65 million pounds-75 million pounds to its revenue this year. In 2019, it booked a revenue of 289.3 million pounds.
“The speed of the slowdown in the UK housing market has been significant,” the company said.
Shares in the company slumped nearly 10% to 429.6 pence by 0858 GMT.
The impact from the coronavirus comes just as the British housing market, which had been subdued for the past four years due to Brexit-related uncertainty, was beginning to show signs of recovery.
“A spike in the number of property transactions falling through has clearly got Rightmove worried and it’s taken the decision to sacrifice profits in the short term to help customers keep their heads above water,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Nicholas Hyett said.
“That’s sensible, but whether it will be enough remains to be seen.”
The British government is moving to prevent landlords from evicting tenants for at least a three-month period as the virus outbreak forces people to stay at home, including some who will miss work without pay.
Those steps by the government may further increase pressure on the industry, Rightmove added.
Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Uttaresh.V