Strong year for Persimmon

Strong year for Persimmon

York-headquartered housebuilder Persimmon confirmed 2015 was another booming year for Britain's property market as price rises and government measures helped boost sales.

The group - which trades as Persimmon Homes, Charles Church and Westbury Partnerships - said revenues jumped 13% higher to £2.9bn last year, helped by a surge in legal completions over the second half.

Completions rose 8% over the year as a whole, but lifted 13% to 7,717 in the final six months.

Persimmon also saw average selling prices rise 4.5% to around £199,100.

It said 2015 had been "another year of strong growth for the group", adding it was set for a "substantial" rise in pre-tax profits.

The housebuilding sector was one of the star performers in a volatile wider stock market last year as it was given a fillip by favourable economic conditions, as well as a range of government support measures.

The government's Help to Buy programme enables purchases by buyers with deposits of only 5%, while it has also launched the Starter Homes initiative, which subsidises discounts of at least 20% for first-time buyers on newly-built properties.

It also starts 2016 with a forward order book of around £1.1bn, which is 13% ahead of the previous year.

The group opened 250 new development sites across the UK last year and bought 20,500 plots of new land over 123 sites.

Charlie Campbell, analyst at Liberum, said: "Persimmon's full year trading update revealed a good end to the year, as expected, but we remain cautious on the shares."

He added the share price valuations of Persimmon and rivals Barratt Development and Taylor Wimpey were "stretched" after impressive recent gains.