Estate agent Foxtons tries to spread Christmas cheer with share buy back - as its share price edges higher

Emma Haslett
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Foxtons Prepare To Make Market Debut
The London-focused estate agent has struggled after property sales slowed (Source: Getty)

Struggling estate agent Foxtons has announced a buyback of shares, in an attempt to spread a bit of Christmas cheer to shareholders, who have watched its shares fall more than 37 per cent from their peak this year.

The company said the share buy back, which will start today, is "in line with [its] policy of returning excess cash to shareholders".

It's been a tough year for the London-focused estate agent, which in October said transactions in the capital were at "historically low" levels.

House price growth in London has slowed in recent months, after chancellor George Osborne hiked stamp duty on homes worth more than £1m.

The move was designed to put off wealthy foreign investors, on whom the capital's estate agents have become increasingly dependent as house prices whooshed higher following the financial crisis.

Further measures introduced by Osborne during last month's Autumn Statement, hiking stamp duty for buy-to-let investors, could slow things further.

In October the company said it expected recovery of the market to be sluggish.

"Although we expect any recovery of the property sales market to be slow due to low current levels of stock, we enter the fourth quarter with a £1bn sales pipeline which is well above the same point last year and based on current market conditions, we remain broadly on track to meet full year expectations," said Nic Budden, Foxtons' chief executive.

Shares edged up 0.22 per cent to 179.5p in early trading.
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