Persimmon warns of further uncertainty in housing market as sales fall

Developer Persimmon expects the housing market to remain “highly uncertain” into next year as it reports a significant fall in new home completions.

In the third quarter, the York-based housebuilder saw completions fall 37% compared with the same period in 2022. Amid what said was a normal, seasonal drop off in sales post summer, net private sales per tumbled 24% to 0.48 during the quarter, but said it has since seen demand pick up in the past five weeks to 0.59.

Investors were also told the average selling price had fallen from £282,316 at the end of June to £277,750 as the firm made greater use of sales incentives, particularly in the south where it said affordability was a bigger barrier. Meanwhile Persimmon is under way with around 30 new sites which it expects to be ready for sales from spring next year.

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Dean Finch, group chief executive, said: “Trading in the period was in line with expectations and pricing was broadly stable. We are on track to deliver around 9,500 quality new homes in 2023 with operating profit in line with expectations and at an operating margin similar to the first half.

“While the near term is likely to remain challenging and we remain disciplined on costs, we continue to position the business for growth when the market recovers, as demonstrated by our further progress on planning in the period. The group’s national network of outlets providing a high quality product at a range of attractive prices is a crucial strength in this market.”

Amid the slowdown, Persimmon said it has been operating from a lean fixed cost base with careful control over spending, including a recruitment freeze which it said would lead to headcount reducing by about 700 people this year.

Full year completions are expected to total around 9,500 for Persimmon, which last year built 14,868 homes. Competitors across the house building sector have reported similarly downbeat results in recent months with North East-based rival Bellway revealing a depressed order book and Barratt also seeing sales slump amid higher borrowing costs and the ending of the Right to Buy scheme.

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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