(Adds details, background)
LONDON Jan 11 London-focused estate agent
Foxtons said sales could continue to fall this year after a
slump in demand pushed down 2016 core earnings by nearly 50
percent, due to a property tax hike and the impact of Britain's
vote to leave the European Union.
Foxtons, once a symbol of London's surging property
market, floated in 2013 ahead of the peak of the boom, and has
since failed more than once to meet market expectations,
including as early as 2014.
The firm, known for its chain of coffee shop-style outlets
and fleet of Mini cars, said earnings before interest, tax,
deprecations and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 46 percent to 25
million pounds ($30 million) last year, lower than the 28
million forecast by a Thomson Reuters poll of analysts.
Central London property prices have fallen sharply in recent
months, according to a series of surveys, after a tax hike
introduced in April hit demand for top-end homes, compounded by
the uncertainty for particularly foreign investors of the Brexit
"(There was a) significant fall in sales volumes immediately
following the first quarter of 2016," said Chief Executive Nic
"Should current levels of sales activity continue in the
short term, it is likely that 2017 volumes will be below those
in 2016," he said.
Britain's third-largest housebuilder Taylor Wimpey
also said on Wednesday that lower selling prices in central
London had affected its performance, with the value of its
full-year order book falling marginally.
While overall revenue fell at Foxtons, fourth-quarter
lettings revenue was flat at 13 million pounds, a strong area
for the firm which could be hit by the introduction of a ban on
lettings fees announced by the government in November.
($1 = 0.8224 pounds)
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Kate Holton and Mark