Persimmon brings forward its dividend as enquiries increase

Kasmira Jefford
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HOUSEBUILDER Persimmon said yesterday it has seen a pick-up in enquiries from aspiring homeowners since the government launched its Help to Buy scheme in March.

The group said enquiries on its website were up 30 per cent on last year, having already been up 24 per cent even before the chancellor George Osborne announced the shared equity scheme in his Budget.

It also hopes to benefit from the £1bn build-to-rent fund – another government scheme expanded in the Budget – aimed at supporting the growing rentals market.

Persimmon was shortlisted on Tuesday as a potential beneficiary of the scheme and plans to build 600 rental homes in the UK – its first venture into the sector.

Chief executive Mike Farley, who retired yesterday and was succeeded by Jeff Fairburn, said government support “makes it financially viable for both ourselves as well as for the institutions which will hopefully invest in this”.

In an interim statement on its progress for the year-to-date, Persimmon also laid out plans to pay out a dividend of 10 pence per share to shareholders in June next year.

This will accelerate a payment originally scheduled for 2015 under a plan set out last year to distribute a total of £1.9bn over a nine and a half year period ending 2021.