Strong quarter for Countryside

Countryside Properties has reported a strong performed in its first quarter with the business placing more emphasis on private rented sector and affordable properties.

Issuing an update on the period from October 1 to December 31 2018, the housebuilder and urban regeneration partner said that its total group completions climbed 28% to 1,094 homes against the equivalent period the previous year.

This completions growth was driven by sizeable increases in both private rented sector homes, up 66% to 341 homes, and affordable homes, increasing 52% to 413 homes.

Due to the phasing of completions in Countryside’s Partnerships division in both the current and prior year group private for sale completions were lower in the quarter at 340 homes (2018: 376 homes).  At the same time, its overall net private reservation rate slowed in December. For the quarter this was 0.63 against the previous year’s 0.70.  Group private average selling prices were similar to the previous year at £395,000 (2018: £394,000).

In Countryside’s Housebuilding division, private completions rose 30% to 164 homes. The division’s total forward order book grew 27% to £286 million.

Its Partnerships completions rose 35% to 850 homes, governed by an additional 249 homes from the company’s Westleigh acquisition. The total forward order book here was up 115% at £659 million.

Countryside said that its Q1 performance was “in line with our full year expectations with lower private completions being replaced with strong growth in PRS and affordable.”

Ian Sutcliffe, Countryside’s group ceo, said: “Our balanced business model continues to give us sector leading growth and greater resilience from our mixed tenure delivery. We have a record forward order book and continue to win new business in our Partnerships division, giving us visibility of future earnings and continued growth potential.”

Also reporting, Kier said that its housing business experienced a “stable housing market” during the period from November 16 to the present day, with a current sales rate of 0.8 units per sales outlet per week against 0.7 during the equivalent period the previous year.