Knight Frank appears to have shrugged off the problems hitting the high end of the housing market, reporting a 14 per cent rise in pre-tax profits in the year ending in March 2018.
The company increased turnover by £50m to £526m in the year ending March - a 10 per cent rise - despite challenges from Brexit and stamp duty reform reportedly hitting some of its residential activities in there UK.
Much of Knight Frank’s success, however, was international and commercial.
According to the agency’s website, there are 523 Knight Frank offices in 60 markets employing over 18,170 people, and its results show particularly strong figures from Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany.
Group chairman Alistair Elliott says the company’s UK challenges require government action - and he says the proposed stamp duty surcharge on overseas buyers of UK residential property, announced 10 days ago by Theresa May, risked creating further uncertainty.
“There is no denying that the headwinds in the UK have been significant, with increasing regulation, higher construction costs, a more complex and time-consuming planning process, a substantial rise in transaction costs and political instability … There must be an acknowledgement of the barriers and an encouragement of investment” insists Elliott.
In addition, he says: “We need an urgent review of business rates, especially for the High Street. We need to streamline the planning process, and focus particularly on how this might assist the required rejuvenation of those high streets where traditional retail is no longer an option.
“We believe there is huge potential to reintroduce more homes above shops and a strong chance this may ultimately lead to a much-needed transformation of some high streets and communities.”