Housebuilder reports record margins in 2004, and looks forward to more of the same in 2005.

Housebuilder Persimmon has achieved record pre-tax profit for 2004, up 33% to £470.4m, and says it is confident that 2005 will be another good year. In the 12 months to December, Persimmon sold 12,360 homes, at an average price of £172,000, compared with £155,000 in 2003.

In his chairman's report, Duncan Davidson said: "Since early January 2005 we have seen a marked upturn in demand for our homes in comparison with the last eight months of 2004." So far in 2005 Persimmon has sold £1bn worth of homes - 15% more than in the same period last year.

Davidson said that economies of scale helped drive down build costs and make the company more efficient. Persimmon's landbank stands at 59,947 plots, compared with 57,222 in 2003.