Countryside’s trading is “ahead of expectations”

This week Countryside Properties have reported its trading in its first half has been “ahead of expectations”.

The business said it was successfully increasing scale in its Housebuilding division, and under its Partnerships arm had upgraded completion targets for FY 2018.

During the six months to March 31 2017, the firm’s total completions rose 31% to 1,437 homes against the equivalent period last year, with a net reservation rate of 0.89 achieved against HY 2016’s 0.79 and from 48 sales outlets (2016: 37). Countryside’s reported revenue rose 23% to £351.1 million.

The group’s private average selling price fell 13% to £441,000 but “as planned”, with Countryside reducing sales from its premium brand Millgate to produce a more affordable product mix.

With this reduction in homes under Millgate (32 private against 2016’s 49) and product mix change, private ASP in the Housebuilding division dropped 31% to £538,000. Meanwhile, total completions in the division climbed 54% to 450 homes. Private completions increased 40% to 271 homes.

Countryside said Housebuilding had “performed well” in the first half, driven by continuing strong customer demand for “quality homes”. It added: “We are achieving our ambition of increasing scale in our Housebuilding division.”

Under Partnerships, completions climbed 23% to 987 homes. Countryside saw “substantial growth” in this division’s private completions, improving 43% to 358 homes, with the private ASP rising 25% to £368,000 thanks to an improved sales mix and underlying house price inflation.

With the robust progress made in Partnerships, Countryside said it had upgraded 2018 completion targets for the division by 10%.

Ian Sutcliffe, Countryside’s group ceo, said: “Our strong performance across the business in the first half exceeded our expectations.

“We enter the second half of 2017 in an excellent position with 81 operational sites and a record private forward order book.”