Builders bullish after boost from Bank lending scheme

A shot in the arm for the mortgage market from the Bank of England's Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme and government initiatives left two of Britain's biggest housebuilders on distinctly bullish form yesterday.

Persimmon, whose Charles Church family homes are in strongest demand, has pushed forward sales for 2013 past the £1bn mark for the first time since the pre-credit crunch days of 2007.

Visitors to its sites are already 4 per cent ahead of last year, and cancellations are at historically low levels.

Mike Farley, outgoing chief executive, said the FLS is pushing down lending rates while the FirstBuy schemes to help first-time buyers with deposits and NewBuy initiative to boost 95 per cent mortgage loans is helping to unlock the lending market.

Pre-tax profits were 52 per cent ahead at £225.1m last year.

Mr Farley said: "The FLS has made some impact. We have seen lower rates since Christmas so that helps people with affordability. Lenders are looking to lend a bit more as well – they are open for business. We're seeing broad-based improvement."

Its smaller rival Bovis unveiled a 69 per cent jump in profits to £54.1m for 2012 as its chief executive, David Ritchie, said it had an "encouraging start to the spring selling season".

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