Savills, the UK estate agency, has posted a sharp increase in pre-tax profits for the first six months of the year, as the group traditionally associated with upmarket housing expanded its commercial property business.
Underlying profit before tax grew to £26m in the six months through June from £19.7m in the same period last year, on revenue up 13 per cent to £399m. In the UK, revenues increased 14 per cent, driven by central London's booming high-end residential property market.
Savills said it had reduced losses in Europe after restructuring and reinvesting in the business there, also helping lift overall profits.
The company's results statement also showed an improving level of transactions in the UK's regional property markets - sale volumes outside London rose by 34 per cent year on year.
As one of the largest property agents in the country, the improvement in Savills' regional business can be taken as a good indication of the rebounding health in the markets beyond London.
The group said it expected no change in its overall outlook for the rest of 2013, but performance in Hong Kong was predicted to slow after the government increased stamp duty.
"Savills has delivered a strong first half performance in line with our expectations as a result of our strength in key markets in the UK and Asia Pacific and a continued reduction in losses in continental Europe," chief executive Jeremy Helsby said.
He added that Dublin, Germany, France and possibly Spain would be the prime areas of growth over the coming 12 to 18 months.
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