Australia's Stockland Corp sees weak FY amid housing downturn

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Feb 20 (Reuters) - Australian property company Stockland Corporation Ltd on Wednesday reported a decline in half-year funds from operations and warned of weaker full-year results due to a steep decline in the residential property market.

Funds from operations (FFO) slipped 6.7 percent to A$407 million in the half-year ended Dec. 31, with the company citing declines in west Sydney and Melbourne land markets.

"We expect further price declines in residential land of about 5 per cent in this calendar year, concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne," Stockland said in a statement.

Australia's once booming property market which long propelled profits for real-estate companies, builders and property classified companies, has hit a slump recently, prompting steep drops in earnings of a large number of companies.

Tighter lending, higher taxes on foreigners and an apartment glut have driven the steepest price drops in a generation in Australia, especially in Sydney where prices have fallen off a cliff.

Australia's property downturn has driven recent earnings downgrades at building suppliers Boral Ltd, builder AV Jennings Ltd and property classifieds firm REA Group Ltd, among others.

Stockland's net profit after tax attributable for the six months ended Dec. 31 came in at A$300 million ($214.92 million), down 56.2 percent from last year.

Total revenue from its residential property segment for the half-year was A$658 million, down from the A$870 million it reported last year.

($1 = 1.3959 Australian dollars)

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