Savills, the property consultancy, has reported a 41% drop in underlying profits to £19.2m because of the deterioration of the commercial and residential real estate markets.

The company said it was on track to make £20m of cost savings in 2008, partly through redundancies, with expectations the property investment market would remain under pressure for the rest of the year at least.

In the residential market, it said home buying had fallen by about 45% in the past year in London and country property was following suit. House prices are expected to fall by a quarter between 2008 and 2010.

Transactional work comprised 65%of its profit last year and this fell to 13% in the first half. The results were supported by still-resilient property management and consultancy operations, though these are lower-margin parts of the business.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph