Urban regeneration specialist MJ Gleeson reported a strong performance over the past five months, boosted by the popularity of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
The Sheffield-based community housebuilder, which builds low-cost homes in the North, said both its housebuilding and strategic land businesses are performing ahead of expectations.
Chairman, Dermot Gleeson, told shareholders at the group’s AGM: “The Government’s Help to Buy scheme remained popular during the period, with 53 per cent of customers taking advantage of it. Our own bespoke purchaser assistance packages also continued to be attractive.“
Over the five-month period the group completed 314 sales, up from 259 sales last year. Gleeson Homes now has 44 active sites, up from 39 last year.
Analyst James Tetley, at N+1 Singer, said: “Gleeson’s AGM update confirms a very positive start to the year. The market back-drop remains highly supportive following the pro-housing Autumn Statement and ahead of the introduction of the National Living Wage, which will benefit Gleeson’s customers. We upgrade current year pre-tax profit forecasts by nine per cent.”
Mr Gleeson said a significant number of new sites are due to open and it expects the number of active sites to be approaching 50 by next June.
The division currently has a land pipeline of 7,717 plots along with a further 961 plots being considered.
“The outlook for the division continues to be very encouraging, with strong customer demand in all regions, supported by improved mortgage availability,” Mr Gleeson told shareholders.
“We are encouraged by the Halifax Building Society’s announcement it will increase its maximum financial exposure to housebuilders’ individual development sites from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of total value and we welcome the announcement of further measures to encourage housebuilding in the Autumn Statement.”