Thursday 27 July 2017 3:05 pm

Profits at Foxtons have fallen 64 per cent

Will there ever be a let-up for Foxtons? Shares in the troubled estate agent fell in early trading after it admitted profits had dived in the first half.

The figures

Pre-tax profits fell 64 per cent in the six months to the end of June, the London-focused estate agent said today, from £10.5m last year to £3.8m this year.

Group revenues fell to £58.5m, 15 per cent down on last year's £68.8m.

The fall was largely driven by sales revenue, which fell 29 per cent to £22m, or three per centin the second quarter, which it put down to increased political uncertainty. Foxtons also insisted it had a 96 per cent success rate in achieving asking prices.

Meanwhile, lettings revenues fell two per cent to £32.1m, although volumes rose one per cent.

Shares fell 4.7 per cent to 91.5p in early trading.

Why it's interesting

In many ways it is unfair to compare Foxtons' performance in the first half of this year with the first half of last year: 2016's figure was skewed by a sudden leap in sales in the run-up to new rules on stamp duty, introduced at the beginning of April last year, which caused UK housing transactions to peak in the month before as over 170,000 homes were sold.

But the fact sales revenues fell three per cent in the second quarter will be discouraging to investors, who could reasonably have expected an uplift.

But Foxtons said today political uncertainty in the run-up to the General Election had dented revenues, as had shaky confidence over the economy.

But it added that it had great faith in the capital. "London remains an economic and financial powerhouse, with an enviable level of global reach and influence. With its solid infrastructure and skilled workforce supporting both financial and commercial sectors, its long-term attractiveness is unlikely to diminish," it said. Here's hoping.

What Foxtons said

Chief executive Nic Budden said:

Our performance has been resilient in the context of a London property market that has been further impacted by unprecedented economic and political uncertainty. Whilst sales commissions in the second quarter as a whole were down three per cent versus prior year, sales exchanges and our under offer pipeline weakened through June and the early part of July.

The growth in our lettings portfolio was encouraging, up two per cent to circa 19,800 tenancies and now accounts for 55 per cent of group revenues, delivering a steady and recurring income stream.