The growing malaise in the UK housing market is expected to be underlined this week when Savills confirms that transactional volumes are down about 45% on this time last year.

In a separate blow to the industry, Foxtons, which is famous for its fleet of branded minis and its feisty sales tactics, is understood to have called in bankers at NM Rothschild to advise the group on restructuring its debt, a year after it was bought by the private equity firm BC Partners.

Savills, which will report its half-year results on Thursday, has already reported a wide-ranging cost-cutting exercise that will involve reductions in its adverting budget and redundancies. A spokesman for the group declined to say how many people are expected to leave the firm, but said that reports in The Observer newspaper that scores would be cut were 'gilding a lily'. The group employs 17,000 people worldwide, of whom between 3,500 and 4,000 work in London.

The Independent