Strutt & Parker has seen a fall in revenue and profits for the year ending April 30 - and it puts the blame firmly on George Osborne’s rise in stamp duty for high-end homes.
Strutts announced revenues of £107.7m and operating profits of £18.9m which the firm described as “strong” but nonetheless down.
“We experienced a full year’s reflection of the increase in the top rate of stamp duty to 12 per cent which had particular ramifications for the London market” says Andy Martin, senior partner.
“We also saw the full impact of recent political events and fiscal decisions which have undoubtedly affected confidence in the markets we trade, including the introduction of stamp duiy for second home purchases” says Martin.
Another underlying cause for the company’s slump was the announcement of the UE referendum. “Whilst this vote was timed for June 2016, after our year end, it effectively hit trading in all of our transactional markets due to the further uncertainty this brought to the economic environment from the beginning of 2016” says Martin.
On the upside, Strutts’ annual report says its acquisition programme for the year in question holds it in good stead. These included estate agencies Roberts Newby and Edwards & Elliott, planning consultancy AKA Planning and, just after the year end, forestry experts John Clegg & Co, adding nine new offices to the S&P network.
Strutt & Parker also created two new teams within the business: alternative capital markets was set up in September 2015 to provide specialist advice on healthcare, student accommodation, Build To Rent and hotel real estate sectors. Separately, a London planning team was established to help developers access residential, commercial and mixed-use opportunities.
“The challenges we faced in 2015/16 have not dissipated as the UK economy faces continued uncertainty, despite the potential attractiveness of a significant fall in the value of sterling for foreign investors” warns Martin.