Persimmon on growth path: housebuilder set to open another 85 sites as demand soars

 

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.”

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