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Estate agent Foxtons has cheered the busiest start to the year since 2016 thanks to a booming property market sparked by changing buyer demands and the stamp duty holiday.
The London-focused group said revenues for the first two months of 2021 were “well ahead” of a year earlier, revealing it was the best January and February performance since before the Brexit referendum on a number of measures.
It added that the sales commission pipeline started 2021 more than 30% higher, boosting revenues, while a tight rein on costs has helped deliver “significant” earnings growth in January and February.
The group’s recent trading comments come as it reported pre-tax losses of £1.4 million for 2020, down from £8.8 million in 2019, with revenues falling 12% to £93.5 million after Covid-19 disruption in the first half of the year.
Since the first coronavirus lockdown lifted, Britain’s property market has been firing on all cylinders thanks to homebuyers changing homes to suit remote working, as well as the stamp duty holiday, which was extended in last week’s Budget to June.
Foxtons also said that while rents in London have fallen by 12% due to a glut of properties coming on to the market, this has been offset by a surge in demand from tenants looking to take advantage of cheaper tenancies.
The results follow the group’s recent acquisition of London rival Douglas & Gordon, which has a large lettings arm with 2,900 tenancies.
Shares lifted 4% after the figures.
Nic Budden, chief executive of Foxtons, said: “2021 has got off to a strong start, with further improvement in financial performance and the acquisition of Douglas & Gordon demonstrating the continued progress against our acquisition and growth strategy.
“The March 2021 budget announcement, which brought more certainty for our customers, and the rollout of the mass vaccination programme is expected to result in higher volumes in the residential sales market which, with our expertise and results focused proposition, we are well placed to benefit from.”