Trading update says profit set to increase by around 50%

Site visitors for the first weekend of the year were up 20% on 2011 at housebuilder Persimmon, the firm’s chief executive said this week.

Chief executive Mike Farley said the firm had seen an “encouraging” start to trading in 2012, with a good level of interest registered on its website, and visitors to its sites up by a fifth.

Farley, speaking after a trading update released to the city this week, said the government’s proposed mortgage guarantee scheme was on course for a launch in March, and had the potential to increase sales at the business by 15% in the second half of the year. “There is the potential for that kind of effect, though the impact in the first half of the year will be minimal,” he said.

The update said profit is set to increase by around 50% to up to £148m when Persimmon reports full year results in February. However, the firm said total revenue will come in at £1.53bn, down 2.5% on the £1.57bn reported in 2010.

The total number of homes sold in 2011 was almost identical to 2010, at 9,360, but the firm said its underlying operating margin will grow to “approaching” 10%.