McGrath forecast bigger losses as improved housing market sentiment yet to boost revenues

McGrath forecast bigger losses as improved housing market sentiment yet to boost revenues
McGrath forecast bigger losses as improved housing market sentiment yet to boost revenues

The bellwether listed estate agency McGrath Limited has told shareholders that continued subdued 2019 market conditions have further hit its financial profitability.

With improved sentiment yet to translate into increased listings, and sales, McGrath Ltd says it now expects a full year earning's loss of $6 million to $6.5 million due to headwinds across the nation's housing markets.

The forecast loss is up on the envisaged $4.5 million EBITDA loss advised in its March update for the first eight months of the financial year.

McGrath shares have slipped from its $2.10 listing price in December 2015.

The shares were trading at 27 cents before and after this morning's update.

The ASX-listed realtor said today market conditions for FY19 had been challenging with transaction volumes and property values in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne further subdued in the 12 months to May.

"While we have seen a general improvement in interest and enthusiasm in the market, we are yet to see this translate to an increase in listings," chief executive Geoff Lucas said in a statement. He did detect signs that sellers are now more prepared to meet the market.

While property market sentiment has started to improve following the federal election and house price declines have started to ease, McGrath chief executive Geoff Lucas said market conditions for FY2019 "have been challenging".

McGrath lost its head of sales Kon Stathopoulos last week.

"While we have seen a general improvement in interest and enthusiasm in the market, we are yet to see this translate to an increase in listings," Mr Lucas said.

"However, with the elections now behind us, there is evidence of rising confidence in the property market and broader  economy.

"We are seeing significantly increased buyer engagement at auctions, both from owner-occupiers and investors, buoyed by the recent interest rate cut by the RBA - the first since August 2016, and APRA’s decision to lower the mortgage assessment criteria for new loan serviceability.

“There is certainly more activity in the housing sector and we expect more favourable conditions will flow through to an improved performance in the next financial year”,

McGrath will announce its full year FY2019 results on August 26.

In a separate announcement McGrath advised appointment of Howard Herman as chief financial officer, effective June 24 after its former CFO Glynn Wright resigned after just 18 months with the company earlier this year.

Herman has over 25 years commercial experience most recently as chief financial officer of global apparel business Naked Brand Group Limited, listed on NASDAQ and previously of Speciality Fashion Group, an ASX listed fashion retailer.

His experience in the property sector includes finance roles with, Bovis Lend Lease in Sydney and Anglo American Properties in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mr Herman said he was thrilled to join the team at McGrath.

"The company is entering an exciting new phase and I look forward to playing an integral role in its future growth, working closely with Geoff and the Board to execute on our strategies to generate long-term sustainable value for our shareholders.”

Mr Herman holds a Bachelor of Commerce (University of Cape Town) and is a qualified chartered accountant (South Africa and Australia).

McGrath continues to focus on its cost base and noted its strong balance sheet position at 28 February 2019, featuring no debt and $14.3m million in cash.

Tags: 
Mcgrath Post-election Optimism

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