Housebuilder enjoys strong start to 2017

Housebuilder Countryside is ‘upgrading’ its forecasts for this year and next following better than expected interim results.

Half-year results for the six months to March 2017 showed underlying operating profit was up by 39% to £70.4m, up from £50.8m the previous year.

Profit rose despite a fall in the average selling price from £505,000 in 2016 to £441,000 - down by 13%.

Completions also jumped by 31% to 1,437, up from 1,095.

Countryside has two divisions - housebuilding and partnerships, which works with local authorities and housing associations.

The partnerships division had an adjusted operating profit of £38.5m up 66% per cent from £23.2m last year. This has led the company to upgrade its completions target within the partnerships division by 10%.

In the housebuilding division completions were up by 54% to 450 homes.

Countryside said it had secured 4,225 new plots in the half year including Bromley (384 plots) and Barking (911 plots) as well as Maidenhead (1,260 plots) and four sites around a new Crossrail station.

This brings the total number of Partnerships plots to 17,528.

The half year trading document said “we expect profit to be ahead of market expectations” and that the company was achieving its aim of increasing scale increasing scale in its housebuilding division.

Group chief executive Ian Sutcliffe (pictured), said performance had, “exceeded our expectations”. He added: “We enter the second half of 2017 in an excellent position”.