Firm’s housebuilding sales volumes expected to rise by around 15% in the first half of the year

St Modwen today described the UK housebuilding market as “resilient”, notably outside London, and said it continued to see “robust demand” for its homes.

The firm said its housebuilding sales volumes were expected to rise by around 15% in the first half of the year, versus the same period in 2015/16, with profits similarly expected to at least offset the lower profits from its JV with Persimmon, as activity levels reduced as planned.

Sales of residential land continued to be agreed at or above book value, St Modwen said in a trading update ahead of a capital markets day. In the last six months, including its share of JVs, the firm said it sold or had agreed for sale 35 acres of land representing 500 units for proceeds of £17m.

St Modwen said it had recently signed a development agreement to deliver a new 227-acre community including 1,500 homes in Wantage, South Oxfordshire. The firm’s homes division would deliver up to half of the properties, with the remaining development plots awarded in tranches and sold to other housebuilders.

The entire site has outline planning consent and St. Modwen said it had submitted a detailed planning application for the first phase of 150 homes for which, subject to planning, it anticipated starting on site this summer.

Commercial development activity was said to be proceeding in line with expectations, with what St Modwen called “good ongoing levels of occupier demand” across the UK for both new and existing commercial space.

Mark Allan, St Modwen’s chief executive, said a detailed review of the group’s portfolio had highlighted what he called its “strength and depth”.

“Having experienced a positive start to the year that reflects management expectations, we will now continue to refine the strategy further and concentrate on those areas of our deep and diverse portfolio that present genuine opportunities for value generation and further business growth which will ultimately lead to enhanced shareholder returns,” he added.

St Modwen publishes its half year results on 4 July 2017.