Belfast Telegraph

Countrywide considers sale of commercial property consulting business

Estate agent Countrywide is mulling the potential sale of its commercial property consulting business.

It comes after the company warned last month that full-year profits would come in at the "lower end of market expectations" amid reduced activity following the EU referendum and changes to stamp duty.

Countrywide stressed that it has not yet decided whether to dispose of Lambert Smith Hampton.

"The process is ongoing and there can be no certainty that any transaction will proceed. Further announcements will be made as appropriate," the estate agent said in a statement on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Countrywide reported that Lambert Smith Hampton was hit by an 18% decline in transnational revenues in the second quarter, with adjusted profit dropping by £1.3 million in the first half of the year.

In its latest trading update, the estate agent warned that the company's total transaction volumes could be 6% lower than 2015, adding that market transaction levels could fall further in 2017.

Sales in the third quarter fell from £197 million to £189 million, with London bearing the brunt of the slowdown as volumes fell 29% year on year. Overall house exchanges fell 1%.

Countrywide is also now set to face a Government ban on letting agent fees to tenants, which was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond during the Autumn Statement in late November.

The firm said at the time that it was "looking forward to working with the Government" throughout the consultation.

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