- House builder Persimmon has reported 'encouraging' sales levels as forward sales of new homes reached £1.86bn by 30 June, up 15% on last year and its build programme returned to normal levels.

In a trading update covering the period from 1 January to 30 June 2020, the company said that total revenues were £1.19bn, compared to £1.75bn the previous year, although housing revenues of £1.10bn for the first six months were 33% lower than the prior year when total revenues were £1.65bn.

It announced new home legal completions of 4,900 at an average selling price of around £225,050, compared to £216,942 in 2019.

The house builder reported a strong performance in the six-week period since sales offices re-opened in mid-May, with average weekly net private sales reservations of 278 new homes, up 30% on the same period last year.

In the nine weeks ended 17 May 2020, the company secured approximately 1,600 gross reservations.

Persimmon confirmed it has not made use of the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough staff and that it has no plans to access any UK government's Covid-19 funding.

Group chief executive Dave Jenkinson said: 'We enter the second half in a strong position, with work in progress well advanced, forward sales c. 15% ahead year on year, and cash holdings of c. £830m. 'Our financial strength and the agility of the business in responding to Covid-19 has ensured Persimmon is in robust health, and fully able to play its part in delivering the new homes the country needs to support the UK's recovery, in a range of future economic scenarios.'

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