Currencies

Dollar rises as markets turn eyes to Opec

European bourses are mirroring a tentative Asia session as the dollar continues to be supported by better US economic data and investors turn their attention to a meeting between Opec members. Sentiment is underpinned by US index futures suggesting the S&P 500 will gain 3 points to 2,207.3 when trading gets under way later in […]

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Banks

Basel Committe fail to sign off on latest bank reform measures

Banking regulators have failed to sign off the latest package of global industry reforms, leaving a question mark hanging over bankers who complain they have faced endlessly evolving regulation since the financial crisis. Policymakers had hoped to agree the contentious new measures at a crunch meeting held in Chile this week, but a senior official […]

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Banks, Financial

Banking app targets millennials who want help budgeting

Graduate debt, rent and high living costs have made it hard for millennials to save for a house, a pension or even a holiday. For Ollie Purdue, a 23-year-old law graduate, this was reason enough to launch Loot, a banking app targeted at tech-dependent 20-somethings who want help to manage their money and avoid falling […]

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Economy

Eurozone inflation climbs to highest since April 2014

A welcome dose of good news before next week’s big European Central Bank meeting. Year on year inflation in the eurozone has climbed to its best rate since April 2014 this month, accelerating to 0.6 per cent from 0.5 per cent on the back of the rising cost of services and the fading effect of […]

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Financial

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin hit by restructuring costs

Profits at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin were hit by restructuring costs as the company continued to shift its focus towards portfolio management. The FTSE 250 company reported pre-tax profits of £50.1m in the year to September 30, down 17.9 per cent from £61m the previous year. Finance director Andrew Westenberger said its 2015 figure was […]

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Categorized | Property

Countrywide warns slowdown will last into 2017


Posted on November 24, 2016

UK estate agent Countrywide warned that its profits will be at the lower end of expectations this year, after changes to stamp duty and uncertainty following the EU referendum left transaction levels “significantly below” last year.

The company, which runs the UK’s largest chain of residential estate agents, predicted that transaction volumes for the full-year are likely to be 6 per cent lower than 2015, and added that it is “likely” that transaction levels will shrink again next year.

Revenue in the third quarter slipped to £189m, from £197m in the same period last year. House exchanges fell 1 per cent overall but the company suffered a big slowdown in London, with volumes 29 per cent lower on an annual basis.

Shares in Countrywide dropped as much as 5.5 per cent yesterday, after the chancellor announced a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants.

Philip Hammond said he would introduce a ban “as soon as possible“, but Countrywide chief executive Alison Platt insisted “we look forward to working with the government through this consultation process”.

The company’s shares were already struggling before the Autumn Statement, hitting a record low last month after its house broker cut earnings forecasts.

In September, Countrywide said it would close around 7 per cent of its branches as online rivals build market share and low transaction volumes weigh on margins.

Alison Platt, Countrywide chief executive, said in its latest update on Thursday:

We have made good progress this year despite tough market conditions since the EU referendum, particularly pleasing is our growth in market share in both Sales and Lettings based on available market data up to July. In addition, these results in our Lettings, Mortgage and Professional Service businesses underline the importance of the breadth of the group and the focus we have placed on keeping the customers we win and continuing to serve them.