Foxtons hails recovery in UK property market

The UK property market has bounced back sharply, according to estate agent Foxtons, with lettings almost at pre-crisis levels and sales well up on April and May.

Activity dropped heavily during the peak of the coronavirus crisis as estate agents shut their offices and social-distancing measures made physical viewings impossible.

But London-focused Foxtons on Tuesday said that the market had recovered quickly in June and July.

“Behind the fog of Covid there is still great appetite in the property market,” said Foxtons chief executive Nic Budden, who added that he was “cautiously optimistic” for the rest of the year, with low interest rates and the stamp duty holiday helping to sustain demand.

He believed that the market, which has been subdued since the Brexit vote, still had “significant upside in recovery”.

Foxtons reopened its offices in June and has restarted viewings, although its agents still cannot transport customers in its

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Euro hovers near 4-month peak as market looks to EU summit

Euro banknotes with different values.

Jens Büttner | picture alliance via Getty Images

The euro hovered near four-month highs against the dollar on Monday as investors held on to hopes that European leaders would break a deadlock and hammer out an economic rescue deal as their marathon summit reached a record length.

The euro changed hands at $1.1439, just below a four-month high of $1.1452 touched on Wednesday.

EU leaders were at an impasse over a proposed 750 billion euro ($858.30 billion) recovery fund, which is supposed to be raised on behalf of them all on capital markets by the EU’s executive European Commission.

That would be a historic step towards greater fiscal integration for the union, but a group of “frugal” wealthy north European states were pushing for a smaller fund and seeking to limit how payouts are split between grants and repayable loans.

A source said 350 billion

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UK’s ‘blank cheque king’ Osmond plots stock market comeback with $400m float | Business News

Hugh Osmond, the entrepreneur who helped build PizzaExpress into one of Britain’s biggest restaurant chains, is plotting a stock market comeback by listing a cash shell to target a UK company whose balance sheet has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Mr Osmond and his colleagues at the private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, are drawing up plans to list a so-called “blank cheque” company in New York in the coming weeks.

The listing of Broadstone Acquisition Corp will aim to raise between $300m and $400m, with a takeover likely to be valued somewhere in the region of double that, according to people briefed on the plan.

Mr Osmond has been holding talks with institutional investors about the potential listing in recent weeks, with one prospective shareholder suggesting on Friday that the feedback had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

A filing with American securities regulators could be

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UK denies that internal market plan will lead to race to the bottom

The UK government has denied that plans for a new internal market would lead to a race to the bottom in regulatory standards as the Scottish National party said the proposals “ride roughshod” over devolved powers.

Alok Sharma, business secretary, told the House of Commons that a white paper on the post-Brexit internal market published on Thursday would give business the “regulatory clarity and certainty” that companies needed. “It will ensure that the cost of doing business in the UK will remain as low as possible,” he said. “This is not about ideology, this is about pragmatism.”

But Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said the UK government was seeking to “ride roughshod over the powers of the Scottish parliament”.

Mr Sharma insisted the paper, which sets out the internal market’s framework, would respect the devolution settlements across the country.

He emphasised that responsibility for more than 70 policy areas would

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