Persimmon builds on improving sentiment with jump in profits

Kasmira Jefford
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AN IMPROVING housing market, a pick-up in mortgage availability and a rise in consumer demand have helped to boost Persimmon’s profits and margins in the first half.

Britain’s largest housebuilder by market value yesterday reported a

40 per cent jump in underlying pre-tax profits to £135.3m in the six months to 30 June, compared to the same period last year.

The York-based group completed more homes – up seven per cent to 5,022 from 4,712 last year – which helped to drive revenues up by 12 per cent to £899.9m.

The improved performance was also fuelled by a five per cent rise in its average selling price to £179,199, which it attributed to selling a greater number of larger and more expensive family homes.

Chief executive Jeff Fairburn said the government’s Help to Buy scheme had seen strong take up in the market, securing 1,700 reservations since its launch in April.

He said Persimmon was starting to build on new sites as quickly as possible to meet pent-up demand, and it expected to open a further 85 sites in the second half, after adding 90 in the first.

Its forward order book rose 21 per cent to £1.257bn, helping it to reach its target margin rate of 15-17 per cent 18 months ahead of plan.