McGrath Estate Agents' dip in earnings worsens

McGrath Estate Agents' dip in earnings worsens
McGrath Estate Agents' dip in earnings worsens

McGrath Limited has told shareholders that subdued 2019 market conditions have continued to hit its financial profitability.

Trading conditions in March 2019 are currently below expectations, it noted.

The announcement came at 5pm Friday, after the market close when shares were trading at near record lows of 26 cents.

Listed at $2.10 in late 2015, the company share low was 25.5 cents earlier this month, a 52 week low. This morning trading saw shares open at 25 cents. They have dropped to 24 cents in this morning's session.

McGrath's weekend results saw 33 sales and 22 unsold, a total of 55 offerings.

The same weekend last year, albeit without the NSW election distraction, had 167 offerings.

In 2017 it was 140 offerings.

The ASX-listed real estate agency McGrath revealed a further dip in earnings as the company struggles with the housing market downturn. 

“We are disappointed that the real estate sector is facing continued headwinds, exacerbated by the elections, the tighter lending environment and weakening economic conditions affecting our sales business, however our Property Management business continues to perform well,” CEO Geoff Lucas said.

McGrath noted its strong balance sheet position at 28 February 2019, featuring no debt and $14.3m million in cash.

“The significant reduction in transaction volumes in the real estate sector has continued, however we are seeing signs that sellers are now more prepared to meet the market and interest rates continue to be at historic lows”, he added.

McGrath stated last month that the continuing subdued property market had impacted the company’s performance, noting that trading conditions since balance date were below expectations, with generally lower listing volumes and average sale prices.

"The subdued market conditions have continued in the second half with recent market data indicating national dwelling values are continuing to fall and transaction volumes remain more than 20% below the prior year in both Sydney and Melbourne markets. 

"The company also foreshadowed in February 2019 that underlying EBITDA for the second half of FY19 was expected to be impacted by ongoing difficult trading conditions, with external factors including NSW and Federal elections, potentially further impacting performance of the property market and McGrath."

Based on the unaudited management accounts year to date, the company has generated an underlying EBITDA loss for the eight months ended 28 February 2019 of $4.5 million, including the seasonally lower January and February months.

It had been reported the company had suffered a loss of $2 million in earnings before interest tax depreciation amortisation (EBITDA) over January and February.

"Market conditions remain difficult to forecast and if current trends continue, further losses in the final quarter are expected," Lucas noted.

 

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