March 14, 2013 6:40 pm

London property boosts Savills’ profits

The continued rush of foreign investors into London’s prime real estate market has boosted profits at high-end estate agent Savills.

Full-year revenues for 2012 rose 12 per cent to £806.4m, while pre-tax profits jumped 36 per cent to £54.2m, beating analyst expectations on both measures.

“London is the premier world city for real estate. It’s the most functional, cosmopolitan city in the world and there is still a significant flow of capital from overseas,” said Simon Shaw, chief financial officer.

“In most locations it is pretty well impossible to increase the supply, and demand is still very strong.”

An increase in stamp duty dented central London sales volumes 7 per cent, leaving them still well below the 2007 peak. However, foreign buyers flocked to Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Mayfair and Belgravia, where sales volumes on £5m-plus properties grew 14 per cent.

The group also enjoyed record growth in the Asia-Pacific region, where revenues increased 11 per cent to £331m. Mr Shaw said it was likely that Savills would one day earn most of its money in the region.

However, Savills also warned that government concerns over rising house prices in China and Hong Kong could create difficulties in 2013.

“Some headwinds are materialising in Asia-Pacific, with numerous control measures recently introduced in mainland China and Hong Kong,” said analysts from Espírito Santo in a note.

Diluted earnings per share rose from 20.9p to 29.5p, while total dividends increased 19 per cent to 16p per share.

Shares in the FTSE 250 company, which have risen more than 50 per cent over the past 12 months, closed up 7 per cent at 595p on Thursday.

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