Persimmon forward sales up 15% to £1.8bn

Shares of York house building giant Persimmon plc rose about 6% on Thursday after it published a trading update for the six months to June 30, 2020, showing forward sales of new homes are 15% ahead of the prior year at £1.86 billion.

Revenue for the first half fell 32% to £1.19 billion amid the coronavirus lockdown.

In its outlook, Persimmon said: “We are encouraged by the level of customer reservations in the period since our sales offices reopened in mid-May with customer website enquiries and sales office appointments continuing at healthy levels.  

“Selling prices have remained firm.

“As at 30 June 2020, the value of the group’s forward sales of new homes was c. 15% ahead of the prior year at £1.86bn (2019: £1.62bn).

“The average selling price of the c. 5,150 forward sold private new homes was c. £242,400 (2019: c. £238,350). c. 4,950 homes were forward sold to the group’s housing association partners with an average selling price of c. £123,280 (2019: c. £120,900). 

“As previously announced, the proposed 125p per share interim dividend payment of surplus capital due to be paid on 2 April 2020 was cancelled and the proposed annual final dividend of 110p per share due to be paid on 6 July 2020 was postponed.

“The payment of a final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2019 will be re-evaluated in the second half of this year.

“The longer-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer confidence and the UK economy has yet to be seen.

“However, despite this uncertainty, we remain confident of the group’s future success.”