Foxtons swung to its first full-year loss since listing six years ago, after revenues were hit by London’s housing market slump.
The estate agency group made a loss of £17.2m in the year to December, down from a £6.5m profit a year earlier, as revenues dropped 5 per cent to £111.5m. It said it would pay no final dividend.
Garry Watts, the group’s chairman, said: “The London sales market is in a prolonged downturn and the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit is clearly impacting consumer confidence.”
Foxtons, known for its green and yellow branding and tough negotiators, has focused tightly on the capital’s mid-market, meaning it has been harder hit by the downturn there than more diversified rivals.
The company closed six branches during the year, including its Park Lane flagship, resulting in a £5.9m non-recurring charge; Foxtons also wrote down goodwill in its sales business by £9.8m “given the prolonged nature of the current sales market downturn”.
It said its lettings business had been “resilient”, with revenues up 1 per cent to £67m, but the division will now have to cope with a ban on fees charged to tenants, which takes effect in June.
Nic Budden, chief executive, said the company, which has no debt, would focus on “cost control and appropriate investment” including a focus on digital marketing rather than additional branches.
But he added that “we expect trading conditions to remain challenging in 2019”.