Housebuilder reports 26% rise in turnover in first half of 2010 but says sales slowed ahead of emergency budget

Sales at housebuilder Persimmon have been slowed by the uncertainty over the government’s emergency budget, the housebuilder reported today.

In a half year trading update, the housebuilder said it had experienced a “normal” seasonal slowdown in sales since early May. However, it said: “We believe this was also due partly to the uncertainty created prior to the announcement of the new Government’s Budget proposals.”

It said that sales had been in line with expectations since the emergency budget, but did not say what those expectations were.

The warning confirms similar market weakness since the election reported by Bellway in June.

Over the whole last six months it said sales rose by a quarter, to £785m, on the back of more sales and steadily rising house prices.

It reported turnover up 26% on the first half of 2009, with the number of homes sold up 16% on the same period to 4,657. However sales were down 7% on the second half of last year.

Operating profit margin before exceptional items rose to 7.5%, from 1.5% in the first half of 2009. Overall the builder reported a like for like rise in house prices of 3% over the first six months.

Persimmon contracted 4,000 plots during the period, and said it was in the final stages of securing another 3,500. It has reduced gearing to 7%, with a reduction in borrowings of £145m since the start of the year.