The housebuilder said that trade over the summer weeks immediately following the EU Referendum was “encouraging”.
In its third quarter trading statement which covers the period from 1 July 2016 to 1 November 2016, Persimmon said that the number of customers visiting its sites remains well ahead of last year. “With the start of the autumn selling season, customer activity strengthened in line with the traditional seasonality of the market,” it said.
“We are now fully sold up for the current year and have c. £757 million of forward sales reserved beyond 2016, an increase of 4% on the same point last year (2015: £726 million).”
The housebuilder said that the market has continued to benefit from resilient consumer confidence and strong lender support. “The reduction in the bank base rate in August has resulted in more attractive mortgage products further supporting affordability,” it said. “Mortgage interest rates remain compelling, especially for first time buyers utilising the Help to Buy shared equity scheme. Pricing remains firm across our regional markets.”
Consistency of Government planning policies under the National Planning Policy Framework is enabling the industry to assess the long term risk profile when making the substantial investment in the short term, Persimmon said, which is necessary to increase the number of new homes built in the future.
“We recognise that the uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of the EU Referendum result on the UK economy may continue for some time,” the housebuilder warned. “Therefore, we remain cautious with respect to new land investment but have continued to progress attractive opportunities on a selective basis. We acquired 7,580 new plots of land, and spent £116 million, including payment of deferred land creditors, during the period.”
The availability of new sites and the appropriate level of skilled trade resources remain key challenges, the housebuilder said.