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By Costas Pitas
LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - International estate agent Savills reported a 12 percent rise in annual profit as revenue at its British property business grew despite a slump in demand for new homes and office space in London after the Brexit vote.
Underlying profit for 2016 rose to 135.8 million pounds ($170 million), ahead of expectations in a Thomson Reuters poll of analysts, helped by overall revenue rising 3 percent in Britain, Savills’ largest market.
“We benefited from the scale of our operations across the globe, which have grown substantially over recent years, as well as a highly resilient performance in the UK,” Chief Executive Jeremy Helsby said.
Residential sales rose by an annual 7 percent outside of London whilst demand in the capital fell 5 percent, less than some indicators which have showed larger slumps in the number of transactions as increased property tax has put off some buyers.
However, demand for office space in the City of London, home to the financial district which has been increasingly concerned about the implications of Brexit, fell 21 percent as occupiers chose to extend existing leases rather than take out new ones.
“(This was) pretty strongly Brexit-related because corporates only make big expansion decisions when they’ve got a degree of certainty about the landscape into which they are making those decisions,” Chief Finance Officer Simon Shaw told Reuters.
Shares in Savills slipped 0.9 percent to 877p by 0820 GMT. ($1 = 0.8006 pounds) (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by David Clarke/Keith Weir)