Persimmon receives boost from '˜confident' new homes market

Housebuilder Persimmon reported a hefty rise in half-year profits as it said high employment levels are supporting the market and mitigating the impact of Brexit-fuelled inflation.

Jeff Fairburn of Persimmon
Jeff Fairburn of Persimmon

The group posted a 30 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £457.4 million in the six months to June 30, while revenue rose 12 per cent to £1.66 billion.

The average selling price of its homes rose 4 per cent to £213,262, completion volumes increased 8 per cent to 7,794 homes and forward sales were 15 per cent ahead at £2 billion.

Boss Jeff Fairburn said: “The market remains confident. Customer interest in our developments remains strong, with encouraging levels of interest through both our websites and our sales outlets as we trade through the quieter summer weeks.

“Whilst we remain vigilant to changes in market conditions, we also recognise we are in a strong position to take advantage of opportunities that arise. We are looking forward to a good autumn sales season.”

Persimmon added that “healthy employment levels and a competitive but disciplined mortgage market” helped it trade through an inflationary squeeze on consumer spending, triggered by sterling’s collapse following the Brexit vote.

British households have also seen their spending power come under sustained pressure from lacklustre wage growth, leaving fewer consumers willing or able to take the plunge into home ownership.

But Persimmon is one of a number of housebuilders to post bullish figures since the referendum, despite a string of recent surveys showing the housing market has cooled.

“Customer interest over the last seven weeks from 1 July has remained robust and our average weekly private sales rate per site was 2 per cent ahead of the same period last year,” Persimmon said.