Housing market lifts Persimmon deals by 17pc

Kasmira Jefford
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PERSIMMON posted a 17 per cent surge in housing completions last year and said it expected demand for new homes to remain robust despite uncertainty over the outcome of the upcoming general election.

Britain’s biggest housebuilder completed 13,509 property sales in the year to 31 December compared with 11,528 the previous year. Homes were sold at an average price of £190,500 – five per cent higher than in 2013.

Persimmon’s strong performance helped lift revenues by 23 per cent to £2.6bn, slightly ahead of expectations.

“We’re going into an election year, and that does create a little bit of uncertainty, but we anticipate to see good demand for the products we’re producing,” said chief executive Jeff Fairburn.

It has already forward sold £973m worth of new homes as at 31 December, seven per cent higher than the same time last year, providing a strong start to the financial year.

Shore Capital analyst Robin Hardy hiked his full-year pre-tax profit forecast from £454m to £468m, thanks to the better-than-expected results.

“The group’s cash-flow is strong, the new build market remains heavily under-supplied and the advantages of buying new in this cycle remain so pronounced [mainly thanks to Help-to-Buy] that we sense that Persimmon may be willing the press a little harder on volume expansion than it has previously indicated,” he said.

Shares edged up 0.85 per cent.