Belfast Telegraph

Foxtons takes a hit with Brexit vote and stamp duty changes impacting sales

Profits at Foxtons plummeted 54% last year as the London-focused estate agent was hit by the Brexit vote and changes to stamp duty.

The group said profits dropped from £41 million to £18.8 million in the year to December 31, after it saw a "marked step down" in sales activity in the second half following the EU referendum.

Revenue fell by 11.4% to £132.7 million after Foxtons was also impacted by the Government's stamp duty hike that came into force in April last year.

Boss Nic Budden said: "Last year's London property market was severely impacted by an unprecedented sequence of events with changes to stamp duty and the EU referendum vote leading to a substantial reduction in property sales transactions, especially in Central London.

"We were not immune to the decline in volumes."

Mr Budden warned he expects trading conditions to "remain challenging throughout 2017", adding that should current sales activity continue through the remainder of this year, it is "likely that 2017 sales volumes will be below last year".

In better news for the firm, lettings turnover was down just 1%, coming in at £68.3 million and helped offset the fall in sales revenue, which fell 23% to £55.5 million.

Mortgage revenue rose 7% to £8.9 million, helped by higher volumes in the first half ahead of the stamp duty changes.

Shares were down 1.27% in morning trading.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Unfortunately, Foxtons is bearing the brunt of the troubles facing the London property market.

"While letting revenues are holding firm, a sharp decline in sales volumes post-Brexit means group profits have more than halved.

"Considering the group's gloomy outlook, it appears the uncertainty around the capital's property market won't be shifting in the short term."