Cost-cutting and cash preservation have become the watch words for a property sector struggling to cope with one of the steepest declines on record.

Yesterday, several property companies reported further falls in asset value and warned of pressures on income growth. Cash generating policies include cutting dividends and asset sales, and some companies have had to renegotiate bank facilities to see them through the worst of the cycle.

Quintain, the developer of London sites in Wembley and Greenwich, has repatriated £80m in cash since April against a target of £100m, as well as reducing administration costs by 20%.

Two property companies scrapped dividends. Warner Estate has cancelled its halfyear pay-out but promised to meet the requirements of its Reit status by paying out at the year end.

However, there were more positive statements from two of the more canny groups in the sector – Helical Bar, the developer run by Mike Slade, and London & Stamford, an investment company set up by property veterans Raymond Mould and Patrick Vaughan.

Financial Times