House builder Persimmon reports sales jump

The Northern Echo: Persimmon said mortgage lenders have continued to support the market, while "exercising discipline in the improving market". Persimmon said mortgage lenders have continued to support the market, while "exercising discipline in the improving market".

SALES at housebuilder Persimmon have risen by a third so far this year as the York-based firm continues to reap the benefits of a resurgent market.

Persimmon, which trades as Charles Church and Westbury Partnerships, said its revenues rose 33 per cent on a year earlier to £1.2bn in the six months to June 30, as the wider economy improved.

Sale completions jumped almost 28 per cent to 6,408 homes during the period, while its average selling price lifted 4 per cent to £186,000.

Persimmon shares were flat following today's update but have risen 10 per cent so far this year, amid relief that last week's measures from the Bank of England aimed at preventing a house price surge were not more severe.

There are already signs that banks are beginning to cut back on mortgages as figures this week showed that mortgage approvals for house purchase dropped to 61,707 in May, from 62,806 in April, an 11-month low.

Persimmon said mortgage lenders have continued to support the market, while "exercising discipline in the improving market".

The company currently trades from 380 sites and said its consented land bank at June 30 stood at 82,300 plots, providing an "excellent platform" for the future development of the business.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said a combination of the country's monetary policy and accommodative lending practices left Persimmon "in a sweet spot".

He added: "Persimmon continues to make hay while the sun shines."

Persimmon's comments come as UK house prices rose above their peak of 2007, rising 1 per cent in June and 11.8 per cent higher than a year earlier, according to building society Nationwide.

Nationwide said the average value of a UK property was £188,903, but in London it had passed £400,000 for the first time.

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