A NORTH-EAST housebuilder has hailed a strong start to the year.

Persimmon Homes says underlying pre-tax profits increased 57 per cent to £212.9m for the first half of 2014.

It added legal completions were also up 28 per cent to 6,408 compared to the same period last year.

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The company has its headquarters in York, with its North-East office in Newcastle, and its Teesside branch in Bowburn, near Durham City.

Neil Foster, managing director of Persimmon Homes Teesside, said: “We have produced another strong performance, taking advantage of the current market opportunities to deliver growth.

“Our private sale reservation rate since July 1 is also nine per cent ahead of the same period last year.”

Mr Foster said the company was also investing in land to meet the rising demand for new homes.

He added: “During the first six months of the year, we acquired 14,251 plots of land.

“These will ensure we are able to deliver new homes local communities are keen to acquire.”

The company has a number of developments in the region, including homes in Stockton, Bishop Auckland, and Peterlee, east Durham.