But housebuilder says cancellation rates have steadied since autumn

Gleeson has said the number of homes it sold during the first half of its financial year fell because of the impact of last September’s disastrous mini-Budget but added the rate of cancellations from buyers spooked in its aftermath had fallen in the run-up to Christmas.

In a trading update for the six months to the end of last month, the housebuilder said it sold 894 homes which was a fall of 4% on the same period in 2021.

It added: “This reflected the weaker market and considerably higher mortgage costs as a consequence of the mini-Budget.”

Kilner Park drone shots

Cancellation rates have nearly halved compared to the numbers being posted at the height of the mortgage crisis in October

Gleeson said some confidence had returned after the initial fallout from former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s proposals, hurriedly ditched by his successor Jeremey Hunt, had died down with cancellation rates reducing during the six weeks to Christmas, with only 6.5 plot cancellations per week compared to 11.5 plot cancellations per week in the previous six weeks to mid-November.

Gross reservations during the seasonally quieter six weeks before Christmas were 22.2 per week, 25% lower than the 29.5 gross reservations per week in the same period last year.

It said that it picked up three sites during the period and started work on three more.

While it said its forward order book for the second half of the year was 319 plots compared to 616 last time, it added: “We are cautiously optimistic of a recovery during 2023, due to a number of factors, including that mortgage rates continue to fall from the highs experienced in October 2022, and the need for low-cost, high-quality homes remains acute.”

The firm, which has seen Graham Prothero join as chief executive at the start of the month to succeed James Thomson who has replaced Dermot Gleeson as non-executive chairman, will release its interim results on 16 February.