Housebuilder says conditions in the UK housing market are starting to improve

Persimmon is to start work on 50 new sites before the end of the year, in a vote of confidence in the recovery of the housing sector.

In an upbeat trading update, the housebuilder said that sales volumes in 2009 had consistently been ahead of what they were 12 months ago. Its forward sales revenue for the second half of 2009 is £700m, up from £650m last year.

Persimmon said it was recording a “historically low” level of cancellations, around 16%, and that its part-exchange stock had dropped from £120m in June 2008 to around £17m this year.

New homes
Sales volumes in 2009 have consistently been ahead of last year

The housebuilder opened 45 new developments in the first half of this year, and will start work on a further 50 sites in the next six months.

Although house prices have continued to decline in the past six months, Persimmon said the rate of decline is lower than it was last year, and that it had noticed prices stabilising in some locations.

The statement said: “We are encouraged by the improvement in sales rates when compared to last year, but will remain cautious until mortgage availability improves further and employment prospects stabilise.”