Wednesday 28 April 2021 8:39 am

Persimmon builds up sales to pre-Covid levels

Sales at housebuilder Persimmon for 2021 so far are 23 per cent ahead of last year, meanwhile, it has set aside £75m to address the issue of flammable high-rise cladding.

With the average price for homes sold to private owners at around £252,000, the group enjoyed £3bn in sales in the first quarter of 2021, up from £2.4bn last year.

“Persimmon has made a strong start to the year with current forward sales 23 per cent ahead of last year and 11 per cent ahead of the same point in 2019. Our build rates continue at pre-Covid levels,” chief executive Dean Finch said.

Despite many strapped for cash, Persimmon reported strong numbers of customer enquiries, 17 per cent ahead of numbers seen in 2019.

The housebuilder saw a lift of 2.10 per cent to its share price this morning, now resting at 3,213p.

The group has also branched out with £140m in land investments across to tackle the 15 per cent drop in active outlets.

“We are progressing our land holdings and taking advantage of good quality investment opportunities, bringing 6,000 plots across 29 locations into the business in the period and securing a strong pipeline for the future,” Finch added.

The end of April saw Persimmon’s balance sheet and liquidity remain robust, with £940m in cash and around £90m in deferred land commitments.

The housebuilder’s broadband service, FibreNest, has almost doubled its customer base since 2020, growing from 6,500 to 14,000.

Persimmon also set aside £75m in January to address the legacy cladding issues in their buildings.

The chairman of the group, Roger Devlin, said at the time that “the concern around now banned cladding is affecting many thousands of homeowners who live in high-rise buildings right across the country.”

Where we no longer own them we will work with the owners to make sure they meet their legal responsibilities and duty.”

The group will provide a further trading update on 8 July 2021.