Housebuilder Persimmon is set to open another 85 sites this year to match soaring demand from new buyers, the firm said today.
Persimmon — which reported a 40% rise in pre-tax profits to £135.3 million in the six months to June thanks to higher selling prices on bigger homes and the Government’s Help to Buy initiative — already has 390 active sites and plans to make a “swift start” on new schemes.
The company opened 90 sites in the first half. Chairman Nicholas Wrigley said: “The group is working hard to increase production in response to the improved demand evident in all our regional markets, investing to support sustainable growth.” The builder anticipates a hiring spree as a result of the openings and has expanded its apprenticeship programme to take on more than 100 every year.
Sales reservations since Help to Buy was launched on April 1 are running 30% ahead of a year ago, Persimmon said. It has so far achieved over 1,700 reservations under the scheme, designed to help first-time buyers struggling for deposits.
Higher profits from sites bought more cheaply since the credit crunch also helped the firm achieve its margin target of 15-17% 18 months early. Persimmon is still spending on new land, splashing out £236 million in the first half against £142 million a year ago.
Peel Hunt analyst Clyde Lewis said: “Persimmon is a well-run housebuilder with a great track record and land bank.”