Persimmon shares hit amid planning consent woes

Shares of York-based house builder Persimmon fell almost 4% after it said in a third quarter trading statement that achieving detailed planning consent for new developments “is proving as challenging as ever.”

Persimmon said: “At this point in the cycle we remain focused on disciplined investment in high quality new land to support the delivery of superior returns and cash generation over the longer term.

“The National Planning Policy Framework continues to task local authorities with identifying more land to be released for development.

“However, achieving detailed planning consent for the land identified is proving as challenging as ever.

“We are keen to work with all stakeholders taking part in the Government’s Housing White Paper consultations to establish more effective planning processes which will allow the industry to increase the number of active outlets and overall output of new homes built.”

Despite the planning problems, Persimmon said it is now “fully sold up for the current year” and has £909 million of forward sales reserved beyond 2017, an increase of 10% on the same point last year, with pricing firm across its regional markets.

“The group continues to encounter a tight market for both key house building trade skills and some materials,” said Persimmon.

“The group is actively developing all sites where an implementable detailed planning consent has been secured …

“Management has continued to pursue new land opportunities on a selective basis.

“The group acquired a total of 5,526 new plots and spent £147 million, including payment of deferred land creditors, during the period.

“Of the new plots acquired, 48% have been converted from our strategic land portfolio.

“We anticipate that the group will achieve strong strategic land conversion over the next couple of years as local authorities complete their plans to identify sufficient land to meet the assessed housing need in their local communities.”