Should you buy Rightmove plc and Taylor Wimpey plc after today’s results?

The property sector has been one of the hardest hit by Brexit, with housebuilder share prices hammered and investors rushing to flee open-ended property funds. Two property-related companies have published their results today, and the early signs are that once again, the post-referendum panic has been overdone.

Do the right thing

The UK’s leading property portal Rightmove (LSE: RMV) has released a positive set of first-half results, showing a 16% rise in revenues to £107.9m and underlying operating profits up 17% to 82.3m. Investors are celebrating an interim dividend of 19p, which is 3p higher than last year.

Referendum uncertainty hasn’t dented the British love of property portal surfing, with a 15% rise in visitors to 765m, while average revenue per advertiser hit a record £830 a month. Management admits the economic outlook is more uncertain than it was, but believes the site’s strong brand and dominant 77% market share leave it well placed to withstand the turmoil. Investors clearly agree, with the stock up 10% in early trading.

Move on up

At today’s 4,087p, Rightmove’s share price is still below its pre-referendum high of 4,225p, but well above its subsequent low of 3,173p. The stock has recovered strongly but as yet we don’t know the full impact of Brexit on the housing market. UK residential property may look pricey by traditional measures but with mortgage rates at record lows and likely to fall even lower, and demand still outweighing supply, the house price crash doom-mongers are likely to be proved wrong again. The only thing that concerns me is that the stock is expensive at 31.22 times earnings, and yields just 1.04%.

Taylor made

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) also had a bad Brexit, its share price crashing from 192p to 115p on 24 June, a drop of 40% in a day. That was a great moment for bargain seekers as the stock is now back up at 151p, helped by a 5% rise after this morning’s half-year results.

Management says trading conditions have been normal since the referendum, while admitting the long-term impact is still impossible to gauge at this early stage. What we do know is that Taylor Wimpey completed 6,019 homes over the first half, with the average selling price up 5.8% to £238,000. Profits before tax rose 12.1% to £266.6m.

Far from Wimpey

Taylor Wimpey expects to reward shareholders with at least £150m in ordinary dividends each year – plus specials on top. It’s paying £300m this month and plans to do the same in July next year. This level of confidence is refreshing amid the overdone post-Brexit panic.

The company is also underpinned by strong housing market fundamentals, as the UK urgently needs new homes and mortgage rates may go lower still. Government first-time buyer schemes such as Help to Buy will also sustain the market, and new Chancellor Philip Hammond may have more stimulus up his sleeve. Better still, trading at 9.72 times earnings, Taylor Wimpey isn’t expensive, and its forecast yield of 7.6% will look even better if the Bank of England cuts interest rates next month.

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Harvey Jones has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Rightmove. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.