The UK residential arm of global property group Savills grew revenue two per cent to £131.5m, driven by a 43% increase year-on-year of sales of properties worth over £15m in London.
In prime central London, the number of properties exchanged grew by four per cent despite average values transacted declining by the same figure of four per cent, its preliminary results showed.
Outside the capital, which represents 54% of Savills second hand agency residential revenue, the number of exchanges and capital values transacted were flat year-on-year, with strong performances in the North, Scotland and the Cotswolds offset by weaker markets.
On new homes, average transaction values and the number of exchanges in 2018 both increased by two per cent. Continued investor interest in the private rented sector (PRS) grew revenue and profits by 15% and 22% respectively.
On UK commercial, revenue fell three per cent to £98.4m after a ‘significant improvement’ in the second half of the year.
Savills said most of its commercial leasing and investment sub-markets continued to perform better than anticipated in 2018, as both occupiers and investors continued to transact, the latter supported by the relative value obtainable in the UK compared with a number of European real estate markets.
The weakest commercial property sector in 2018 was the retail sector, where a combination of structural and Brexit-related impacts continued to affect retailer performance and investor confidence.
In several UK acquisitions, the firm acquired Broadgate Estates’ third party property management portfolio from British Land, a property agency in Guernsey, Martel Maides, a property services company in East London in Currell, and a planning and development consultancy business based in London, Porta Planning.
Overall, the UK residential transaction advisory business recorded a six per cent decrease in underlying profits to £17.6m with underlying profit margin down to 13.4% from 14.5% in 2017.
Globally, group revenue rose 10% to £1.76bn, up from £1.6bn last year with underlying profit up two per cent to £143.7m.
Mark Ridley, group chief executive, said: “We have made a solid start to 2019; however, the year ahead is overshadowed by macro-economic and political uncertainties across the world. It is difficult accurately to predict the impact of these issues on corporate expansionary activity and investor demand for real estate.”