Belfast Telegraph

Foxtons profits slump after 'significant fall' in sales volumes

Profits at Foxtons have slumped as the London-focused estate agent blamed a "significant fall in sales volumes" for dragging on revenue.

The group said sales for the year ended December 31 came in at £133 million, down from £150 million in 2015.

As a result, earnings for the period are expected to have plummeted 45% to about £25 million.

Chief executive Nic Budden has previously pinned a slowdown in residential property markets on uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum.

On Wednesday he described 2016 as a "challenging year", warning: "Should current levels of sales activity continue in the short term, it is likely that 2017 volumes will be below those in 2016."

In a trading statement, Foxtons said: "The reduction in group revenue for the year reflects the significant fall in sales volumes immediately following the first quarter of 2016."

It added that in the final quarter of last year, revenues were £26 million, compared with £35 million in the same period in 2015.

However, lettings revenues in the fourth quarter proved more resilient, coming in flat at around £13 million, driven by high levels of renewals. Lettings comprise more than half of group revenues.

Mr Budden said: "Our balanced business model provides resilience against sales market cycles and we have a strong balance sheet with no debt.

"Our high-touch approach to customer service continues to be a key differentiator and as the most recognised residential brand in London, we are uniquely positioned to manage through the market uncertainties and take advantage of any change in conditions."

Shares in Foxtons plunged 9% on the news to 90p in early-morning trading.