Housebuilder Persimmon unveiled a record pre-tax interim profit this week and said it was bullish about future prospects.

Chairman Duncan Davidson said that although the market had eased in some areas, the firm had experienced good overall demand.

He said: “With the current level of forward sales and a low interest-rate environment, we believe that a healthy housing market will be sustained.”

Davidson said Persimmon’s land bank of 34 629 plots put it in a strong position to withstand planning pressures created by Planning Policy Guidance 3, which disallows greenfield development if a brownfield site is available.

Davidson also said the firm’s new divisional structure allowed it to act quickly in changing regional markets.

Persimmon outperformed the City’s expectations: pre-tax profit rose 36% to a record £48.4m and turnover increased by 14% to £361m for the six months to 30 June 2000.

  The average selling price of a Persimmon home went up to £103 770 in the first half of 2000, compared with £94 685 in the six months to June 1999. The firm completed 3483 homes in the period, compared with 3354 in 1999.

Chief executive John White said the integration of Tilbury Douglas Homes, which was bought for £19.5m earlier this year, had been successful. He added that the group was on the look-out for further acquisitions, particularly regional housebuilders.