July 26, 2019 / 6:40 AM / 3 months ago

Foxtons half-year sales hit as Brexit weighs on London market

FILE PHOTO: A Foxtons estate agent sign is seen outside a branch in west London, Britain July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

(Reuters) - Real estate agent Foxtons Group Plc (FOXT.L) posted lower half-year revenue on Friday, blaming a Brexit-driven downturn in the London market for a drop in house prices and an increase in demand for lower-value properties.

London’s long-bullish property market has been sluggish in many areas over the past year as uncertainty due to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has hit consumer confidence, while a rise in stamp duty property tax has also put off buyers.

Foxtons, which warned in May British property sales were running at record lows, is battling lower demand for residential and commercial properties due to Brexit worries along with rival Countrywide (CWD.L).

It is also having to compete with low-cost operators, such as Purplebricks (PURP.L), which are seeking to gain a foothold in the market.

“Whilst there has been some softening of prices we do not see any change to overall market conditions in the short term,” Chief Executive Officer Nic Budden said.

Foxtons said revenue for the six months to June 30 was 51.1 million pounds ($63.5 million), compared with 53 million pounds a year earlier.

Revenue from its sales business, which helps it earn commission on sale of residential properties and accounts for almost a third of total revenue, slipped 10%. Revenue from its largest lettings unit was flat year-on-year.

($1 = 0.8044 pounds)

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jon Boyle

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