Persimmon builds sales

Persimmon yesterday joined the chorus of property firms reporting trading conditions have improved in the third quarter and said home buyers were back in the market.<br /><br />The UK&rsquo;s largest housebuilder by market value said it met its sales targets for the year and booked a further &pound;500m of sales for 2010.<br /><br />Chief executive Mike Farley said: &ldquo;The market is encouraging. Buyers are back. Prices have stabilised and there is growing availability of mortgages.&rdquo;<br /><br />The group also ruled out launching a cash call &ndash; unlike virtually all of its housebuilder rivals who have been forced to tap shareholders to bolster their balance sheets.<br /><br />Persimmon added its debt position at the year-end will be &ldquo;significantly lower&rdquo; than its previous guidance of &pound;400m, enabling it to purchase new land and open outlets.<br /><br />&ldquo;The focus now is on growing our margins, we are comfortable with our level of debt,&rdquo; Farley said.<br /><br />Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman said: &ldquo;The contrast with the housing market of 2008 is palpable. and trading momentum continues to build.&rdquo; Persimmon said the average selling prices of homes at &pound;173,000 is six per cent higher than at the start of July.