In a trading update today ahead of publication of its annual results, Persimmon revealed that total group revenues for 2020 were £3.33bn, which is 8.7% down on 2019’s £3.65bn.
The number of housing units completed during the year was down 14% to 13,575 (2019: 15,855) but the average selling price improved to around £230,500 (2019: £215,709).
On current trading conditions, Persimmon said that forward sales were up 25% to £1.689bn (2019: £1,356bn). While the third national lockdown and recent spike in Covid cases were creating “increasing operational challenges”, the company is managing to keep build-rate on track.
“During the current phase of tighter restrictions, we remain confident in our ability to continue to operate safely and effectively, having further adjusted our existing high level of Covid secure safe operating procedures throughout the business as we continue to comply with all relevant regulations,” the board said. “While the group has achieved pre-Covid build rates since the end of June 2020, including during all subsequent lockdowns imposed in England, Scotland and Wales, we recognise the elevated risk to the group’s planned build programmes presented by the higher transmission rates of the new variant of the Covid-19 virus. Our regional businesses are currently managing resource efficiently, to support productivity where unplanned absences occur, and we remain in close liaison with our work force and supply chain to address these increasing operational challenges.”
Chief executive Dean Finch said: “Recent events have served to further demonstrate the continuing near term uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we believe that the longer term fundamentals of the UK housing market remain resilient and I am confident Persimmon will continue to deliver superior long term value for all of its stakeholders.”