Foxtons has suffered a massive 23 per cent drop in sales income and a nine per cent drop in overall company revenue, blaming “ongoing weakness in the London sales market” and the capital’s “sustained period of very low activity levels”.
In figures, group revenue was £53m - down from £58.5m this time last year. The pre-tax loss this year was £2.5m - 12 months ago there was a pre-tax profit of £3.8m.
Despite what the firm calls a “resilient” performance in lettings, the overall loss was “driven by lower revenue in the sales business and additional planned investments in people, brand and technology.”
While sales income was just £17.2m, down 23 per cent, lettings was much better with revenue of £31.7m, down one per cent against the previous year.
Foxtons’ Alexander Hall mortgage brand revenue was £4.1m, down three per cent.
Looking for an upside, the company says it maintained its number one market London listings position in both sales and lettings.
Chief executive Nic Budden has told shareholders: "As expected the weak sales market impacted our performance in the first half of 2018. After a slow start to the year, performance in our lettings business improved throughout the period delivering another consistent result for the first six months.
“The property sales market in London is undergoing a sustained period of very low activity levels with longer and less visible transaction outcomes, which clearly impacts our business.
“We continue, however, to achieve market leading share of listings giving us confidence that our service led, results based model remains highly relevant to consumers. Going forward we will continue to invest in our proposition to enable us to maintain our differentiation in the minds of buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.
“Looking ahead, availability of mortgage finance, absorption of stamp duty costs, and the return of confidence to the market will, amongst other factors, determine the timing and rate of increased activity levels.
“London though remains an important global city. Our franchise is well known and we remain debt free.
“Our ability continuously to improve quality, adapt our business models to underlying shifts - such as the expansion of digital capability and institutional investment in the private rented sector - and keep a tight focus on operating costs puts us in a strong position to benefit both from the momentum in our lettings business and to capitalise on increased sales activity as it returns. We remain confident of our long term prospects."