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Brexit hits profits in London property agency Foxtons
[LONDON] Profits at London property agency Foxtons slumped 42 per cent in the first half of 2016, a sharp fall the company on Friday attributed to uncertainty around Britain's EU membership referendum.
Foxtons' pre-tax profits fell from £18.1 million (S$32.24 million) in the first six months of the year, the company said.
"Uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum led to slow residential property markets in London during the first half of the year," said Foxtons Chief Execitive Nic Budden.
He said property sales in London were down substantially on last year, with a sharp contraction in the second quarter which included the June 23 referendum.
"The result of the referendum to leave Europe is likely to lead to a prolonged period of further uncertainty and we do not expect London residential property sales markets to show signs of recovery before the end of the year," Budden added.
Foxtons revenue also fell 3 per cent to £68.6 million and the estate agency said it was reviewing plans to open new branches as a result of the market conditions.
The property firm anticipated the negative impact of Brexit just days after the referendum, saying its profits would be hit.
Even before the referendum, there had been signs the British capital's high-end property market was slowing after the government hiked taxes.
Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said it was unlikely the property market would rebound before the government begins the formal process of leaving the EU, which could lead to greater certainty of Britain's future.
"Foxton's results paint a pretty dire picture for the property market, particularly in London. Buyers and sellers were clearly holding back ahead of the vote, but the real question is whether they keep calm and carry on with their purchases, or pull out," he said.