(Adds details on Brexit, Hong Kong)
Jan 13 (Reuters) - Real estate services provider Savills Plc said it sees its annual underlying results to be at the upper end of its expectations as its British business saw a pick-up in both commercial and residential markets after the general elections.
The effect of Brexit and political uncertainty suppressed market activity until mid-December, but the clear outcome of the general election helped a strong close to the year as confidence to transact returned to the market, Savills said on Monday.
The company, which also reported significant growth in its U.S. business in the year ended Dec. 31, said political unrest in Hong Kong severely reduced the volume of trading activity mid-year and continues to do so.
As pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong stretched from summer into autumn, and are now into winter with little sign of resolution, a surge in migration applications suggests more locals are making plans to leave the special administrative region.
“Looking to the year ahead, increased political stability in the UK should maintain improved sentiment in real estate markets ... Nevertheless, some caution may remain until the full impact of Brexit is better understood,” Savills said in a statement.
The company, which was founded in Britain in 1855, also said that certain other global markets continue to be overshadowed by macro-economic and political uncertainties, and Savills’ expectations for 2020 remain unchanged.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a resounding election victory in December, leading markets to believe an orderly exit from the European Union was all but certain.
Savills, which works across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, said in August that uncertainty due to the U.S.-China trade dispute and Brexit led to fewer commercial transactions in Asia and Britain, respectively.
Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Sherry Jacob-Phillips
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