Thursday 14 May 2020 9:37 am

Coronavirus: Housebuilder Countryside reports £29m profit hit

Housebuilder Countryside Properties took a £29m hit to profit in March due to lost home and land sales as the coronavirus pandemic escalated in the UK. 

The developer said it estimated that around 184 completions, including 79 private completions, were lost in March. Five land sales were also cancelled by the buyer due to coronavirus. 

Read more: UK housebuilders race to return to work after government eases restrictions

Countryside said the lost completions and sales resulted in lost revenue of around £116m and reduced operating profit by around £29m for the six months to 31 March. 

“The timing of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on movement and uncertainty meant that our half year results were significantly impacted,” the housebuilder said this morning.

“Revenue and profit were both lower than they otherwise would have been as a significant number of private completions due for the end of March did not take place as planned and land sales were postponed.”

In the six months to 31 March total adjusted revenue fell six per cent to £530.9m, and the private average selling price slumped two per cent to £368,000. 

Adjusted operating profit plunged 38 per cent to £55.3m.

Countryside paused all construction and closed sales offices on 25 March. The company has since restarted building work at 80 per cent of its sites, although build rates are expected to be lower as workers adapt to social distancing measures. 

Read more: Countryside reports profit jump as CEO announces exit

Chief executive Iain McPherson said: “We welcome the revised guidance from government allowing anyone looking to move home to be able to do so.

“Whilst the market outlook remains highly uncertain, our resilient mixed-tenure business model and strong forward order book benefit us both operationally and financially as we work alongside our partners to restart our operations as efficiently as possible.”