Foxtons to float amid strong housing market

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The Independent Online

Foxtons, the estate agents chain, will float on the London Stock Exchange today with an estimated value of about £650m.

The chain was last night finalising the debut price for its stock, with strong demand for the issue expected to push it to the higher end of the 190p to 230p range under consideration.

The company, whose free float is likely to represent about half of its outstanding shares, plans to raise £55m from the issue of new shares, which it will use to pay off its debts. BC Partners, Foxtons' private equity owner, will also sell some of its shares in the float.

Foxtons initial public offering (IPO) is being eagerly anticipated against a backdrop of a strong housing market and tentative signs of an economic recovery.

Crest Nicholson, the housebuilder, and Countrywide, the estate agent, have successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in the past year, as confidence returns to the housing market.

Foxtons is likely to do even better, since London, where much of the company's business is based, is the strongest part of the housing market in Britain. House prices in London rose by ten times as much last year as the average for the country, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).