Per­sim­mon suf­fers shares fall as sales of new homes were flat in third quar­ter

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE -

SHARES IN house­builder Per­sim­mon, York­shire’s big­gest Plc, fell over 3 per cent af­ter the firm said sales of new homes were flat dur­ing the third quar­ter.

The York-based FTSE 100 firm said third quar­ter to­tal sales per site were in line with the same pe­riod last year.

The com­pany swapped its stan­dard mea­sure of pri­vate sales per site per week for one that counted to­tal sales per site for the en­tire pe­riod from July 1 to Novem­ber 7.

It noted that the com­pa­ra­ble fig­ures from a year ear­lier were par­tic­u­larly high – up 14 per cent from 2015 – due to par­tic­u­larly strong sales af­ter the 2016 EU ref­er­en­dum.

The firm said that while to­tal sales out­let num­bers were 10 per cent lower over the au­tumn pe­riod to date, cus­tomer ac­tiv­ity had strength­ened in line with tra­di­tional sea­son­al­ity and con­sumer con­fi­dence was re­silient. Per­sim­mon said it was fully sold up for the cur­rent year and had around £909m in for­ward sales re­served be­yond 2017, mark­ing a 10 per cent in­crease from 2016.

“Pric­ing re­mains firm across our re­gional mar­kets,” the com­pany said.

Shore Cap­i­tal an­a­lyst Robin Hardy said: “There is no men­tion of sale rates, pric­ing or mar­gins, with the only fig­ure men­tioned be­ing the for­ward sold po­si­tion ex­clud­ing the cur­rent year, which is not a fig­ure for which we have a mean­ing­ful com­par­i­son.”

With­out fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, he said there was a pos­si­bil­ity that Per­sim­mon’s per­for­mance is ac­tu­ally down from a year ear­lier.

“The sales rate makes ref­er­ence to be­ing ahead of 2015 rather than 2016 so we can­not see if that is ahead – in the in­terim state­ment in Au­gust this im­por­tant mea­sure was just 2 per cent ahead of the prior year, so could it ac­tu­ally have slipped be­hind 2016?” he said.

He claimed that a po­ten­tially lower sales rate and the drop in ac­tive sites could have im­pli­ca­tions for both the 2018 and 2019 fi­nan­cial years.

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