Persimmon results rekindle investor interest in FTSE housebuilders

Added 23rd August 2016

Persimmon shares climbed by 4.4% to 1872p following the release of its first half numbers, making it the top performer in the FTSE 100 index on Tuesday morning.

Persimmon results rekindle investor interest in FTSE housebuilders

FTSE 100 builders like Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments and FTSE 250 residential developers like Bellway also saw their shares trading higher, reflecting a renewed investor confidence in the sector post-Brexit.

The housebuilding sector’s impressive turnaround helped to boost the FTSE 100 by close to 0.6% and the FTSE 250 by nearly 0.7% on the day.

Persimmon, which saw its share price topple by close to 40% in the initial days after the Brexit vote, posted “robust” interim figures, including a 29% increase in pre-tax profits of £352.3m.

Revenue also grew by 12% to £1.4bn by the end of the first half of the year.

The British housebuilder reiterated its commitment to executing the ten-year strategic plan outlined in 2012 that focuses on cash generation through strategic land investments. In the twelve months leading up to 30 June 2016, the group invested £635m of cash in land and was able to generate £522m of free net cash inflow, equivalent to 170p per share.

And by establishing four new businesses over the last 18 months, Persimmon said it was able to cut costs on legal completions and overhead recoveries and improve margins by 290 basis points to 26.9%.

The group also reported an increase in average selling prices year on year of £205,762, up 6%. And since 1 July, Persimmon reported its private sales rate is 17% ahead of the same period last year.

This is especially noteworthy, given that UK residential transactions within the month were 8.3% lower when compared with the previous year, according to HM Revenue and Customs statistics published Monday.

However, 94,550 homes were sold in the UK during the month of July when Brexit volatility was keenly felt, only 0.9% lower than June's total. 

Group chief executive Jeff Fairman admitted that “while the result of the EU Referendum has created increased economic uncertainty, customer interest since then has been robust with visitor numbers to our sites around 20% ahead year on year.  Our private sale reservation rate since 1 July is currently 17% ahead of the same period last year. The Group is now trading through the traditionally slower summer weeks but customer demand remains encouraging and we anticipate a good autumn sales season."

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