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