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Foxtons profits down amid “dramatic” sales drop

The estate agent Foxtons has posted a 42 percent drop in half-year profits as uncertainty caused by the EU referendum led to a slump in London property sales.

The firm has warned that the downturn in the capital’s housing market would last for at least the rest of 2016.

Profits before tax fell to £10.5 million in the first six months of the year, from £18.1 million in the equivalent period of 2015.

Chief executive Nic Budden said: “Clearly, interesting times. We are anticipating relatively weak market volumes through to the end of this year. We’ll probably take our foot off the pedal a little bit next year, naturally taking a more cautious approach to the business while the market settles down.”

He said the unexpected referendum outcome immediately triggered “quite a dramatic fall” in sales and lettings applicants, and prompted many buyers to renegotiate deals. “That was a sharp decline but that’s stabilised,” he added.

The week after the referendum, Foxtons issued a profit warning, which sent its shares down 25 percent.

Budden said the company would scale back branch openings next year, after opening seven this year. “It won’t be seven next year and it won’t be zero.”

Since floating on the London stock market in 2013, Foxtons has been opening five to seven branches every year.

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