Housebuilder Persimmon reports weekly sales jump as house prices rise

pesimmon Image copyright Getty Images

Homebuilder Persimmon’s share rose after it said weekly sales jumped by almost 50% since the start of July.

The shares rose 5% despite a drop in profit and fewer homes being built than the year before.

It said it managed to maintain profit margins as costs reduced.

After very few sales at the beginning of lockdown, housing sales are slowly recovering and prices hit a new all-time high last month.

According to the latest Halifax House Price Index the average price of a home was £241,604 last month, 1.7% higher than June’s £237,834.

Prices are 3.8% higher than July 2019.

The firm sold 4,900 homes in the first six months of the year, a drop from 7,584 a year ago. While not a record for the company, the average selling price was £225,066, up from £216,942 a year ago.

Profit before tax fell to £292m from £509m

Persimmon said it would start paying a dividend again. Persimmon’s 40 pence-per-share dividend is a drop from the 125 pence paid previously, but the company is one of the first to start paying shareholders again.

“This year is increasingly looking to be a game of two halves for Persimmon, with the outlook rather brighter than the pandemic-hit first few months,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at stockbroker Interactive Investor.

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