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Countrywide warns housing slowdown will hit profits

Countrywide, the UK’s biggest estate agent, has warned that its 2016 earnings will be lower than last year.

It blames a stall in commercial and London residential transactions since the Brexit vote.

Countrywide reported a 25 percent year-on-year fall in pretax profits for the first half of 2016.

It said they had been affected by “investment to underpin future growth” and a slowdown in the housing market in May and June, before the referendum.

Pretax profits for the first half were £22 million, with revenues up 9 percent to £370 million.

Slowdown

Alison Platt, Countrywide’s chief executive, said the company had seen a slowdown in its retail and London residential businesses in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

“Since the EU referendum result this has become more marked in London, the south-east and expensive prime markets. The rest of the country has fared somewhat better and our lettings business and mortgage trends have been largely unaffected,” Platt said.

Steady growth

Growth in UK house prices was steady in July, with the average price of a home increasing by 0.5 percent to £205,715, according to Nationwide’s monthly report on mortgage activity.

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