Persimmon profits surge helped by Help to Buy boost

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Media captionPersimmon chief executive Jeff Fairburn says Help to Buy has increased demand

Profits at housebuilder Persimmon jumped by more than 50% last year, thanks in part to the government's Help to Buy scheme.

Pre-tax profits jumped to £337.1m in 2013, compared with £218.2m in the previous year.

The firm said it had also benefitted from mortgage credit becoming more easily available, and a general pick-up in consumer confidence.

It said forward sales for 2014 were already "strongly ahead".

As of 24 February, Persimmon said it had secured £1.4bn of forward sales for 2014, compared with £1bn at the same point in 2013.

Group chairman Nicholas Wrigley said it was a "robust overall performance".

"We anticipate a further year of encouraging sales growth in 2014," he added.

Persimmon said the average selling price for one of its properties was now £181,861, up 4% on 2012.

The company said that it acquired more plots of land for building last year, and that it now had enough for six and a half years.

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