Estate agent Countrywide has reported a slump in full-year profits for 2016, with the firm blaming a "challenging sales environment" for the decline.

Profit before tax was £19.5m ($23.7m), compared with £47.7m for 2015. Revenue was flat at £737m.

The company said the number of homes exchanged increased 1% in 2016, but the number of potential home buyers was down by 3% at 886,000.

A strong increase in property transactions in the first quarter of the year was offset by a decrease in activity in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote in June.

"In 2016, political uncertainty and stamp duty changes had a significant impact on the UK property market, making it a challenging year for Countrywide," chairman Peter Long said.

"We faced into these challenges — making difficult decisions quickly and acting decisively, streamlining the cost base and transforming our customer offer."

Countrywide said it expected property transactions to be lower this year compared to 2016, but predicted an uptick in the private rental sector.

The company's board elected not to pay a final dividend, making the total payout to shareholders for 2016 just 5p per share.