Persimmon sees its sales rise by a fifth

HOUSEBUILDER Persimmon yesterday said sales were up by a fifth on last year despite a “backdrop of continued uncertainty” from the fledgling economic recovery and upcoming election.

The FTSE 250 listed group reported total sales since the start of the year stand at £1.15bn in a trading update.

The firm said weekly sales volumes remain “consistent” with prices also steady since the beginning of the year. Cancellation rates are also at historically low levels.

Persimmon says it is opening new developments in line with its planned investment programme.

It opened 50 new sites during the first three months of the year with plans for another 40 in the second quarter.

Britain’s housing market picked up in April with prices 2.6 per cent higher than in March despite a rise in supply, property website Rightmove said on Monday.

The UK’s largest housebuilder by market value said the new sites will help to further improve margins by giving it the “opportunity to secure some further price improvement and maintain sales momentum”.

“With margin improvement underway, cash generation remaining robust, and our high quality consented and strategic landbanks, we are in a strong position in the UK housing market to deliver profitable growth,” the business added.

Net debt for the group stood at £265m at the end of March, compared to £680m at the same time last year.

This is expected to reduce further as the year progresses.