Thirty-eight partners in upmarket estate agent Knight Frank received payouts averaging £1 million each after the group enjoyed a record year for property sales, results showed yesterday.
The group's partners saw their earnings soar by 47 per cent during the year to average £1.1 million, with the highest paid receiving £1.8 million. Other staff will share bonuses totalling £51.4 million - 62 per cent more than during the previous year.
The group continued its expansion during the year, opening new UK offices in Chelsea, Cobham, Richmond and Sutton Coldfield.
The bumper payout came as Knight Frank's residential arm made record sales, overseeing transactions of more than 700 prime London properties and country houses for more than £2 million during the year to the end of April.
It said 68 per cent of its sales had been for homes worth less than £1.5 million, and overall it sold more than 5,800 properties worth a total of £1.5 billion - a 26 per cent jump on the previous year.
But the group said while the market had performed better during the first half of 2007 than it had anticipated, conditions were weaker during the final quarter than it had expected.
Sales volumes during the year were about eight per cent above the long-term average, with buy-to-let activity remaining high and reaching record levels in some markets.
The group said the market underwent a shift in confidence during the third quarter of the year, with the sellers' market very quickly replaced by a buyers' one, ending ambitious pricing and meaning vendors had to compete much harder to achieve a sale.
Knight Frank is predicting the next 12 months for the residential property market will be much like late 2004 and early 2005, with prices edging ahead by just three per cent and sales volumes falling by 12 per cent compared with this year.
Overall group turnover in the year to April 30 rose by 32 per cent to £284.4 million, while underlying operating profits were 67 per cent higher at £59.6 million and pre-tax profits were 33 per cent higher at £63.6 million.
Nick Thomlinson, senior partner and chairman of the Knight Frank Group, said: "These strong results follow another year of sustained growth. Whilst watchful of the current macro-economic conditions, our diversity and breadth of service offerings will help us to be well placed to withstand market cycles."
Knight Frank has 165 offices in more than 33 countries.