OnTheMarket CEO: London’s Covid property exodus is reversing

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According to the boss of OnTheMarket, people who left London last year as part of the “space race” during the pandemic are crawling back to the capital.

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Jason Tebb told the Standard he was seeing “anecdotal” evidence of pandemic movers returning to leafy postcodes in places like South London and Twickenham.

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“Last year people sold in London and they tried to find property outside,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have any properties to buy and rent. Now they are coming back.”

While most of the demand is in the outer boroughs, Tebb said that central London “has not become the ghost town that people fear”.

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An encouraging sign for London’s property market came as OnTheMarket – a portal owned by property agents – reported bumper half-year sales. Revenue rose 46% to £14.9 million, although pre-tax profit fell by a third to £500,000 as the company repaid Covid grants and calculated the cost of an acquisition.

OnTheMarket is being backed by a red-hot property market in the UK, which continues to gain momentum despite the end of the stamp duty holiday last month. Data from Halifax last week shows home prices are growing at their fastest rate since 2007. Earlier this week Knight Frank said there were 13 buyers in the market for every home listed for sale in the UK – the second highest ratio in the past five years.

“It’s supply and demand,” Tebb said. “Supply is low and demand is high.

“For the first time since May, the stock levels have started stabilizing in the last three weeks. If we keep this up we may start seeing supply match demand.

OnTheMarket today upgraded its forecasts for full-year sales and profits, saying the booming market means its earnings will be “far ahead of expectations.”

Analysts at Shore Capital said the company was rated “very modestly” with “significant potential for share price re-rating”. The stock rose 6.3%.

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