Foxtons valued at £649m in listing

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FoxtonsEstate agency chain Foxtons has been valued at £649 million as it made its stock market debut amid a resurgent property market.

The shares listing is set to raise £390 million, with part of the windfall going to executive directors and other staff at the London-focused chain.

It is the second major estate agency float of the year after Countrywide rejoined the stock market valued at more than £800 million in March.

Foxtons is capitalising on surging house prices in the capital which, according to official figures earlier this week, rose nearly 10% in the past year.

The market has been inflated by demand from cash-rich foreign buyers as well as Government stimulus schemes, such as Help to Buy.

Foxtons confirmed last month it was planning to float on the stock market and has now announced shares have been priced at 230p each, at the top end of estimates.

Chief executive Michael Brown said: "We are delighted that our initial public offering has been successfully received and there has been strong interest from investors.

"We welcome our new shareholders to Foxtons and we are looking forward to the next stage in the development of the business as a listed company."

Private equity owner BC Partners is selling some of its stake in the company, which trades from about 40 offices in and around London.

It bought Foxtons for around £375 million at the peak of the market in May 2007 from founder Jon Hunt, just months before the credit crunch sent house prices plunging - a purchase it described as a "mistake".

The company was taken over by its lenders in 2010 in a deal which slashed its debt, before the private equity firm regained control last year.

Foxtons, known for its distinctive fleet of Mini Coopers, typically sells properties for between £200,000 and £1.4 million in upmarket parts of the capital.

Around 44% of its revenues come from home sales, while 53% are from lettings.

It made underlying earnings of £38.3 million last year on revenues of £120 million.

Underlying profits in the first six months of this year were up 14.3% on a year earlier to £19.4 million, while revenues rose 10.5% to £62.6 million.

Foxtons has said it is well placed to benefit from any improvement in the housing market, with plans to open five to 10 new branches a year between 2014 and 2018, and possible expansion in the South East in the longer term.