Property brings rewards: Reviving market boosts Savills and Debenham Tewson

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The Independent Online
THE resurgence of the UK property market gave a fillip to half-year results from the upmarket estate agent Savills and Debenham Tewson & Chinnocks, the surveyor.

Both companies warned, however, that while the investment market had taken off, occupier demand is just starting to pick up.

According to Aubrey Adams, finance director at Savills, overseas buyers continue to drive prices higher at the top end of the residential market in which it specialises.

The average price of the houses sold increased 18 per cent to pounds 547,000 in London and 24 per cent to pounds 365,000 overall, pushing the residential arm back into the black.

Doubled profits from the commercial division helped group pre-tax profits in the six months to October jump from pounds 163,000 to pounds 1.19m. Earnings per share were 2.1p compared with 0.03p. The first interim dividend since 1990 emerged at 0.75p.

Debenham Tewson & Chinnocks' interim figures, showing a 76 per cent increase in profits from pounds 936,000 to pounds 1.65m, were the first since the company merged with Bernard Thorpe.

Richard Lay, chairman, said that all the economies forecast at the time of the merger had been effected. He said the best measure of the integration's success was the 38 per cent jump in earnings per share from 1.81p to 2.49p. The dividend rose 25 per cent to 1.5p.

The strength of the investment market was reflected in a doubling of the value of deals in which Debenham Tewson & Chinnocks acted as adviser to pounds 600m. The company expects occupier demand to pick up in the second half of this year.

Shares in Debenham Tewson closed 8p higher at 142p, while Savills added 1p to 99p.