Persimmon (LON:PSN) has updated investors on its half-year performance.
Highlights from the company statement:
The Group's trading performance in the first half of the year has been excellent. We have increased legal completion volumes by 8% to 7,794 new homes (2016: 7,238). The 556 increase in new homes sold demonstrates the Group's drive to meet market demand in all its regional markets across the UK. Our average selling price improved by 3.5% to c. £213,000 (2016: £205,762). Revenue grew by 12% to reach £1.66bn (2016: £1.49bn).
We have continued to experience good levels of customer demand since the Group's AGM trading update on 27 April 2017, with the market taking the snap UK General Election in its stride. Consumer confidence remains resilient and compelling mortgage rates continue to offer good support to new home buyers. Group sales through May and June were healthy, leaving our weekly private sales rate per site for the first half c. 7% ahead of last year at 0.80 (2016: 0.75).
We expect the Group's strong trading through the first half of the year, including the contribution from 95 new sales outlets opened in the period, will lead to further good progress in our operating margin. We anticipate that the Group's operating margin in the first half of 2017 will comfortably exceed the 25.7% delivered in the second half of the prior year.
The Group has strong momentum moving into the second half of the year, with total forward sales value at 30 June 2017 of £1.60bn, 18% higher than last year (2016: £1.36bn) and a network of 375 active outlets. In addition, sales through the second half of 2017 will be supported by opening a further c. 100 new sales outlets despite the frustration of continued delays to site starts due to planning inefficiencies. We are developing all our sites for which we have secured detailed residential planning consent.
The Group has remained active in the land market with 47 new land deals for c. 9,300 new homes that will provide high quality returns in future periods. We have pulled through c. 3,000 plots from our strategic land portfolio within this total, representing 38% of our first half land consumption. Our land spend totalled c. £370m (2016: £305m).