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Another agency cuts London staffing because of sales slump

Knight Frank is the latest agency to cut staff on the prime London sales side because of the downturn.

In an announcement yesterday afternoon the agency announced that two senior staff would "seek new challenges within the wider residential property market." 

Meanwhile some at the firm said, off the record, that the two departures were part of a larger cut in central London negotiators and senior management because of the sales slump.

"There are quite a few but we don't know how many - it was coming and we know other agencies are doing the same" one prime central London Knight Frank senior figure told Estate Agent Today.

The two most prominent departures are Richard Cutt and Tim Wright, who have worked for Knight Frank for 20 and 13 years respectively, most recently in senior roles within the London Prime Residential team.

Cutt's official statement, released through the company, said: "I have been proud to be part of the global success story of Knight Frank for the past 20 years. However, I have now decided that the time has come to explore new opportunities in the prime London property market and dedicate more time to my family and our fight against rare diseases".

Tim Wright, again via a corporate Knight Frank statement, said: "I have loved my time at Knight Frank but after 35 years in the estate agency business it is time for a complete change."

Meanwhile there is also speculation that staff redundancies at rival agency Strutt & Parker, apparently revealed in a BBC Radio London interview earlier this month, are now believed to be the subject of a more formal statement, possibly later this week. 

Last month Strutts said officially that it had “made appropriate changes within our business” when asked about rumoured redundancies.

Representatives of at least two other firms - speaking off the record at an annual property magazine lunch in London attended by over 80 high end agents yesterday - claimed to have received representations from senior central London and out-of-London Strutts staff looking for opportunities elsewhere and concerned at lay-offs within the company.

The prime central London housing market has suffered badly since the late 2014 stamp duty reforms introduced by George Osborne, which saw duty reductions for most property below £937,000- but a high proportion of central London stock is above this figure.

Last month, Knight Frank issued a report which talked starkly of the prime central London troubles. The agency's research department warned that "buyers remain exceptionally price-sensitive," and admitted sales of PCL properties priced between £2m and £5m so far this year were a third lower than in the same period of 2014.

Yesterday the agency’s latest research suggested prices in parts of prime central London will have fallen seven per cent throughout 2016.

A statement from Knight Frank to EAT yesterday evening said: “There is no other announcement on any retirements from the business.”

Property Portals