Foxtons has seen impressive revenue growth in the three months to 31 March, at a time when house prices are at an all-time high amid the stamp duty holiday.
Group revenue at the estate agent in the first quarter of 2021 stood at £28.5m, up 24 per cent on the same period last year.
Sales revenue was up 60 per cent to £11.4m, at a time when house prices have soared as buyers sought to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
Mortgage broking revenue was up 20 per cent to £2.3m, with the increase driven by new purchase activity.
Lettings revenue was up six per cent to £14.8m, as rents in London in particularly remained under pressure, declining by around 12 per cent, but were offset by increased volumes.
When the market opened Foxtons shares rose 1.6 per cent to 68 pence.
CEO Nic Budden said: “I am delighted with the start we have made to the year, which is the best first quarter’s trading in some time.
“As we look forward, the strong trading momentum is expected to continue through the second quarter and together with tight cost control gives us confidence that operating profit for the first half will be significantly higher than last year”.
Anthony Codling, CEO of Twindig, a property platform, added: “As house prices continue to rise Foxtons reported rising sales, lettings and mortgage revenues in its Q1 trading update, it is certainly riding along the crest of the housing market wave at the moment and will be hoping that the wave does not crash hard on the beach when the stamp duty holiday comes to an end.”
Foxtons is facing criticism from investors and shareholders groups over its decision to award Budden almost £1m in bonuses for the year, the Financial Times first reported.
Budden will receive a short-term cash bonus of £389,300 and shares worth £569,000 under a longer-term share incentive scheme.
Shareholders’ concern centres on the group paying out bonuses to executives despite a sharp a fall in its share price, from 94p before the pandemic to about 66p now, and after it took some £7m in government Covid support.
The Institutional Shareholder Services said there was a “material disconnect between bonus outcomes and company performance for the year”, adding: “Some investors may question the appropriateness of awarding bonus payments to the executive directors before paying back the government support received.”
In response, Foxtons told the FT: “Our executive directors’ bonuses were cut by half compared to their entitlement and the CEO’s overall cash compensation was down more than a quarter compared to the year before.”
Foxtons has declined to pay back £4.4m it received through the furlough scheme.