Thursday 9 July 2020 11:39 am

Housebuilders Persimmon and Vistry report growing customer demand post-lockdown

UK housebuilders Persimmon and Vistry this morning reported a boost in customer demand since reopening sales offices after months at a standstill during the coronavirus lockdown.

Persimmon said demand was “positive”, with reservations up 30 per cent year on year. The FTSE 100 firm’s share price jumped more than six per cent following the announcement.

The housebuilder announced this morning that its weekly average net private sales reservations for the six weeks since reopening its offices had reached 278.

Read more: National Express chief quits to lead housebuilder Persimmon

However the developer said revenue in the first six months of the year was £1.19bn, down from £1.75bn in 2019, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis. 

Housing revenue was 33 per cent lower, with new housing legal completion volumes of 4,900, a fall from 7,584 in 2019.

Average selling prices rose from £216,942 to £225,050, demonstrating “resilient selling prices throughout the period.” 

Persimmon chief executive Dave Jenkinson said the company had also seen “encouraging sales levels throughout the period”. 

He added: “In particular, over the last six weeks when net reservations have been 30 per cent ahead year on year.

“We enter the second half in a strong position, with work in progress well advanced, forward sales 15 per cent ahead year on year, and cash holdings of £830m.

Read more: Housebuilder Persimmon confident in outlook as construction sites reopen

Meanwhile, Vistry, previously known as Bovis Homes, said it had seen a week-on-week increase in sales rates over the last 10 weeks. In the last four weeks its average private sales rate per site per week has been 0.62.

The FTSE 250 housebuilder said pricing remained firm across all areas of the business. Shares jumped more than two per cent following the update this morning.

William Ryder, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Both Persimmon and Vistry have continued the trend among housebuilders of reporting firm pricing, despite both Nationwide and Halifax reporting falls in their respective house price indices.

“The new homes market is not fully reflective of the broader market, but can be expected to track it reasonably closely. It’s therefore unclear where the market is going, but we suspect it will largely depend on the success of the economic recovery.

“The Chancellor’s cut to stamp duty will provide some support to the market, but in the face of a prolonged recession it’s unlikely to keep prices up indefinitely – for that we need a strong economy.”

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