HOUSEBUILDER TAYLOR Wimpey reported strong trading since the Brexit vote with no sign that the referendum has dented people’s enthusiasm for new homes.
The group said trading has been “resilient” during the second half of this year and it reported strong demand for its Yorkshire homes.
The firm’s finance director Ryan Mangold said: “We are seeing strong trading in Yorkshire. We have around 30 sites in Yorkshire and they are delivering well. Yorkshire constantly delivers and cancellation rates in the county are lower than the rest of the country.”
For the UK as a whole, cancellation rates rose to 13 per cent for the year to date, up from 11 per cent for the same period in 2015. Cancellation rates stand at 11 per cent in Yorkshire.
“Cancellation rates rose after the Brexit vote. Sitting at 13 per cent is a very strong performance. Above 15 per cent would be normal,” said Mr Mangold.
The group said the average price of a house in Yorkshire has risen from £190,000 to £210,000.
The FTSE 100 firm sold 0.70 homes per outlet per week over the period, down slightly from 0.74 in the second half of 2015. The group said customer confidence is high, but parts of the central London have seen prices soften at the upper end of the market.
The firm warned that building costs are set to pick up by 3 per cent to 4 per cent this year.
“If costs rise, we can’t charge more. We would absorb it,” said Mr Mangold.
The group said the supply of skilled workers is failing to keep pace with the demand for new homes.
“The biggest challenge for the sector is skilled workers. We’ve lost a lot of capacity due to retirement,” said Mr Mangold.
He said it would be hard to tell if there will be a further reduction in skilled workers if Britain imposes immigration controls.
“If the Government goes to a points based system, politicians are acutely aware of how our sector relies on migrant workers,” he said.
Taylor Wimpey’s chief executive Pete Redfern said the company has a strong order book throughout the rest of this year and into 2017.
“Trading during the second half of 2016 and into the autumn selling season has been strong, with good levels of customer confidence and demand underpinned by a wide range of mortgage products,” he said.
“While there remains some uncertainty following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, we are encouraged to see that the housing market has remained robust and trading has remained resilient.”
The firm said its total order book is ahead of last year at £2.3bn, compared with £2.1bn. It said net cash would come in at around £360m for 2016.
Analyst Charlie Campbell at Liberum said: “Trading has continued to be strong through the second half of the year, in line with peers, although we note that the sales rate is a little down compared to the prior year, whereas others have seen increases.”