The British housebuilder reported slightly weaker sales for the year to date at 0.75 sales per outlet per week, compared with 0.76 over the equivalent period last year. Sales rates concentrated in the second half, post-EU referendum, were lower still, down 5.4% at 0.70. Cancellations were also marginally higher at 13% (2015: 11%).
Nevertheless, chief executive Pete Redfern was pleased with the “robust housing market” and “resilient trading” during the second half of 2016, which was reflected in “good levels of customer confidence” at Taylor Wimpey. While he admitted prices had ‘softened slightly’ at the upper end of the London housing market post-Brexit, he emphasised that the group was still seeing “high levels of demand.”
The builder confirmed in Monday’s update that it had fully sold its £2.3bn order book in 2016, which spans 8,981 homes, excluding joint ventures. And it has already sold close to 23% of its expected private completions in 2017.
Taylor Wimpey was similarly positive about its operating profit for the year, even after factoring in 3 to 4% higher building costs from a shortage in skilled labour. By the group’s estimation, it will deliver an improvement in operating profit margin in 2016 and a 30% return on net operating assets.
Total dividend payments to shareholders in 2017 remained unchanged at £450m.