Countryside shares edge lower despite completions rising more than a quarter

Emma Haslett
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Average House Price In The UK Rises 8% In The Year
Countryside's completion rate rose 28 per cent in the year to the end of September (Source: Getty)

Countryside said the number of homes it sold jumped by more than a quarter last year, as it continued to benefit from the government's Help to Buy scheme.

The figures

In a trading statement this morning the FTSE 250-listed builder said completions - the number of homes it built and sold - rose 28 per cent to 3,389 in the year to the end of September.

However, average selling price on private homes fell eight per cent to £430,000, although it said that was in line with expectations. In its housebuilding division, however, it said that figure fell 23 per cent to £515,000, thanks in part to its aim of reducing its exposure to the top end of the market.

Its private forward order book increased eight per cent to £242.4m. However, shares were down 0.5 per cent at 346.4p in early trading.

Why it's interesting

Right now, the property market is going in two directions: while estate agents continue to struggle as cash-strapped buyers stay away, housebuilders are having a moment. That is largely thanks to the government's Help to Buy scheme, which provides financial assistance to first-time buyers trying to get their hands on new-build homes.

However, it is not the same story for those at the top end of the market - which presumably explains Countryside's decision to veer away from luxury homes.

Last week the government announced plans to inject another £10bn into the Help to Buy scheme, which sent housebuilders' shares higher. Today Countryside said it is "ideally placed" to benefit from the extra cash.

What Countryside said

Ian Sutcliffe, its chief executive, said:

We continue to see industry leading growth from our mixed tenure delivery and excellent returns from our innovative partnerships business model.

We have successfully positioned our business to meet the strongest areas of customer demand and are greatly encouraged by the continued and increased political support for mixed tenure housing. We see further opportunities for both our partnerships and housebuilding divisions and remain entirely confident in delivering our medium-term growth plans.

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