Gleeson home sales fall 30%, but order book strong

Sheffield-based affordable housebuilder MJ Gleeson plc said on Thursday it completed the sale of 1,072 homes during the year to June 30, a reduction of 29.9% on the previous year.

However, Gleeson added that its homes division has entered the new financial year in a strong position with a forward order book standing at £145.3 million on 1,033 plots and over 1,000 built or part-built homes.

In a trading update, Gleeson said: “Net daily reservations over the last four weeks have risen to more than 80% of pre Covid-19 levels with the majority reserved at prices higher than in January and February 2020 …

“Build activity on sites is currently running at 60% of pre Covid-19 levels and is expected to reach 80% by September 2020.”

MJ Gleeson CEO James Thomson said: “The impact of Covid-19 on the FY2020 results is as expected. 

“What is pleasing is that the business has demonstrated its underlying resilience in the face of enormous challenges and we are starting the new financial year in a strong position.

“Gleeson Strategic Land’s pipeline is strong and housebuilders are returning to the market to acquire much-needed consented land which remains in short supply.

“Buying a high-quality affordable Gleeson home remains substantially cheaper than renting – often poor quality – accommodation.

“With strong demand and reservation levels expected to soon recover to pre Covid-19 levels, our robust pipeline will enable us to open more sites than ever as we continue to deliver on our strategic plan of completing 2,000 homes p.a. in FY2022.

“We are confident that, if the current market improvement continues, the group will see a rapid recovery in FY2021.”