London property slump pushes Foxtons to first annual loss since IPO
The London estate agent Foxtons slumped to its first annual loss since its stock market debut six years ago, blaming a further fall in the number of homes sold and warning of a prolonged downturn in the capital’s property market. Foxtons, known for its hefty commissions and fleet of Mini Coopers, said low consumer confidence because of Brexit uncertainty, the impact of higher stamp duty introduced in 2016 and low affordability in London after years of rapid house price growth were weighing on the market.
Nic Budden, the chief executive, said: “2018 was one of the toughest sales markets we have ever had in London, with transactions falling from [the previous] year’s historically low levels.” The agency sold 2,529 properties last year, down 15%, with the average price of a Foxtons sale dipping to £581,000, from £582,000 in 2017. The grim outlook came as Nationwide, Britain’s biggest building society, said house prices dipped 0.1% in February from January to an average of £211,304, while the annual growth rate in prices edged up to 0.4% from 0.1%.