Business

Housebuilder Persimmon's profits rise amid 'confident' market

Annual profits at one of the UK's biggest housebuilders, Persimmon, have risen by nearly a quarter amid what it described as a "confident" market.

Persimmon said underlying pre-tax profit rose 23% last year to £782.8m, with revenue up 8% to £3.14bn.

The company sold 15,171 new homes last year, 599 more than in 2015, with average prices up 3.8% to £206,765.

It added that 2017 had got off to a promising start, with "encouraging" levels of customer activity.

The number of visitors to its sites was up by about 7% compared with a year earlier.

"The UK new build housing market remains confident with customer demand for new homes supported by compelling mortgage products," the company said.

However, it added that it remained "wary of the risks and increased uncertainties associated with the EU referendum result".

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Persimmon said the government's Help to Buy scheme remained "important" in supporting first-time buyers.

It said it had sold 6,970 new homes last year to those using the scheme.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The Brexit-shaped dent in Persimmon's share price has now been almost entirely repaired by brisk trading and resilient performance from the UK economy.

"The UK's housebuilders have had the wind at their back for some time now, with the government Help to Buy scheme boosting transaction numbers, while a chronic housing shortage has pushed prices up too.

"Looking forward, the UK housing market shows little sign of pausing for breath in its steady upward climb, and low interest rates are likely to remain supportive for the foreseeable future."

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