LSL Property Services, owner of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, has laid off over 300 people from its surveying and estate agency businesses.

The firm said it had closed 12 under performing branches and made 200 staff redundant as a result of a fall of about a third in its year on year estate agency activity in the second half of 2007.

In its surveying division, which it says made ‘strong progress’ with turnover increasing by 21% up to 31 December, it has made a further 115 staff redundant following "general efficiency improvements".

It said that the growth in turnover was achieved following significant contract gains with Barclays and Cheltenham & Gloucester.

LSL said: ‘These contracts have compensated for the significantly reduced activity levels arising from the recent liquidity issues in the banking markets.’

The company is also reviewing options for its conveyancing division, which it said was underperforming and would incur an impairment charge of £1.5m.

LSL said: ‘Market conditions are difficult to predict but are expected to remain challenging well into 2008.

'As a result of cost and income initiatives LSL is confident of its ability to maximise its profits through the cycle and expects the surveying division, which now represents a bigger proportion of profit, to make further progress in 2008.’

The group announced its intentions in a pre-close update in advance of its results, out on 27 February.

The cost-saving initiatives made by the firm cost it £1m, but it still expects its operating profit to be in line with its expectations, which it revised in October. Turnover was up by 11% over the period.