PHOTO: Purplebricks’ continued — albeit slowing — growth in the U.K. highlights the importance of customer acquisition costs in the new world of hybrid and online brokers. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Tech-driven real estate brokerage Purplebricks released its 2019 results last week. After a failed U.S. expansion, the core U.K. business is still growing and remains profitable, but is facing headwinds in a soft property market. The results highlight the critical importance of scale and customer acquisition costs, and offer a reminder that tech-enabled platforms continue to command a rising percentage of the real estate transaction.

Profitable, but mounting headwinds

Purplebricks’ impressive growth in the U.K. market continues, albeit at a slowing pace. Overall instructions (or instructions to list) are up again, but only 9% compared to the previous year.