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Knight Frank profits down in ‘volatile’ environment

  • 10/10/2017
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Knight Frank profits down in ‘volatile’ environment
Profits have fallen at estate agency Knight Frank despite a rise in turnover, according to the firm’s latest results.

While turnover was up 3.3% to £476.2m, the group’s pre-tax profit was £145.7m, down on 2016’s profit of £152.6m.

However, the firm said all UK service lines performed well, with record years for new homes, residential lettings and Knight Frank Finance.

Chairman Alistair Elliot said Brexit, the impact of recent stamp duty changes and political and economic uncertainties around the world had affected performance.

He said he was “delighted” with the results as these factors had caused hesitancy in the markets and “there were moments when the outlook was bleak”.

The group will focus on its global network to drive growth, given the “volatile trading landscape”, and intends to retain its independence as a private company.

Knight Frank said residential markets in the UK have converged over the past 12 months, with regional price growth slowing to match weaker performance in London.

However, it said sales activity has experienced something of a recovery, with London in particular experiencing an uptick in 2017 compared with very weak trading conditions a year earlier following the Brexit referendum.

Rents have been rising modestly across the UK and, with a slowdown in buy-to-let lending, the growth in the professionally-managed private rental sector is an area of focus, with notable growth in construction activity in outer London boroughs and key regional cities.

“There is no doubting the significant uncertainties presented by the current geopolitical environment. That said, uncertainty drives change and the dynamic real estate world is presenting great opportunities centred on changing work patterns, differing lifestyle choices and a fitter, ageing population, increasingly gathering in key cities around the world,” said Elliot.

“Retirement living, distribution, hotels, healthcare and the private rental sector are just a few markets where the dynamics are greatest and which, combined, will continue to encourage a much greater need for flexible, mixed-used developments and to which we are responding.”

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