Persimmon sees volumes dip

HOUSEBUILDER Persimmon said completions and turnover dipped in the first half year-on-year against a backdrop of a stabilising market, while it expects an increase in volumes for the remainder of the year.

The York-based builder said it completed 4,439 homes in the six months to end June, against 4,657 in the same period last year. Turnover fell in the period to £715m from £785m a year ago.

Britain's largest housebuilder by market value said sales had improved since the start of the year, and it expects to complete the same number of houses as in 2010 by boosting volumes in the second half.

Builders have reported a more stable trading environment since the start of the year, but construction remains at low levels with the industry squeezed by low mortgage approvals and caution amongst consumers.

The construction industry slowed slightly in June and firms were less optimistic about the outlook, a monthly survey of purchasing managers showed on Monday.

The survey showed that commercial and civil engineering companies saw rising output while house building shrank for the second time over the past three months.

Last week, peer Taylor Wimpey reported stronger margins and said it expected analysts to raise their full-year profit forecasts for the company.

Persimmon said its order book is now ahead of same point last year with forward sales at £725m while the average selling price dropped to £162,000 from £169,000, as the company completed a higher number of smaller houses.