“Strong start” to 2021 for Persimmon

Persimmon has reported a “strong start” to the year, with its current forward sales 23% ahead of last year and 11% improved on the same point in 2019.

Giving a trading update on the year to date, the volume housebuilder said its current forward sales position was £3 billion against 2020’s £2.4 billion. The average selling price of private homes in the order book was £252,000 compared to last year’s £244,500.

As expected, given the timing of the pandemic, Persimmon’s average private sales rate for the year to date is “well ahead” of last year, but still around 17% ahead of 2019, the business said.

Persimmon’s build rates currently remain at pre-Covid levels, while its active outlet numbers are around 15% down on 2019 and the first half of 2020, “in line with our strategy of mitigating the risks associated with the cycle”.

It expects its sales outlet network to remain “stable”, at around 300 outlets on average for the year, “allowing for the robust sales rates being experienced”.

The business also said it remained on track in its first half to deliver new homes volumes close to those of H1 2019, with similar volumes expected in the second half.

It added that “The Persimmon Way”, its standards initiative announced in 2019, was progressing well, “and the group remains focused on implementing quality improvements that are consistently applied on each home we build through initiatives including improved training and quality assurance processes”.

Dean Finch, Persimmon’s group, ceo, said: “Demand for newly built homes remains healthy and the group’s sales rates are encouraging. Persimmon’s high quality land holdings, balance sheet strength and liquidity provide a strong platform to continue to deliver the homes the country needs, underpinning long-term sustainable returns for the benefit of all of its stakeholders.”