Persimmon says cancellation rates are at record lows

Persimmon has seen a rise in visitor numbers
Persimmon has seen a rise in visitor numbers

​​Housebuilder Persimmon ​has seen a 12 per cent rise in people visiting its sites and said cancellation levels are at record lows as consumer confidence picks up.

Chairman Nicholas Wrigley will tell shareholders at the group's AGM at York Racecourse today that ​​consumer confidence is being supported by the progress made by the UK economy​.

"The ​g​roup remains focussed on delivering family housing across the UK, excluding central London, to meet the continued demand for new homes at affordable prices​," he said.

​"​The number of customers visiting our development sites across the UK in the period was ​around ​12​ per cent​ ahead of last year. Mortgage lenders remain keen to offer customers the opportunity to access mortgage credit on very attractive terms. Cancellation rates have continued to run at historically low levels.​"

​He added that the York-based firm brought forward a healthy order book into 2016 and ​its​ strong sales performance has resulted in total forward sales revenue, including legal completions taken so far in 2016, being 8​ per cent​ higher than last year at £2.15​bn.

​It has​ 7,598 new homes sold forward into the private sale market for 2016 with an average selling price of ​around ​£220,000, an increase of 5.8​ per cent​ over the prior year.

​"​We are currently developing 370 active outlets across the UK, having opened 75 of the 100 new sites planned for the first half of the year​," said Mr Wrigley.

​"​Planning delays continue to erode the total number of active outlets being developed by the industry, hindering the drive to increase the volume of newly built homes delivered to the market.

​"​We are working hard to increase our active outlet numbers towards ​around ​400 by the end of 2016 and will continue to focus on increasing our output to meet market demand. The ​g​roup has continued to invest in high quality new land in support of its future growth.​"

​Analyst Charlie Campbell at Liberum said: "​Persimmon has seen a good start to 2016, with sales rates up 6​ per cent​, but this implies that growth has moderated in the last seven weeks, to around 2.5​ per cent​, as comp​arison​s have strengthened.

​"​Management has repeated a positive outlook and we would not expect estimates to change.​"

Analyst Robin Hardy at Shore Capital added: "The trading update is OK, still positive but only an in line statement.

​"​Site visitors are up by 12​ per cent​ on last year but this is lower than the indicative underlying market expansion as shown by mortgage approvals which are up by 20​ per cent​.​​"​