Achieving ambition would make sub 10,000-home housebuilder largest by volume in the UK

Vistry has said it is looking to grow its business to deliver up to 20,000 homes a year in the medium term, an ambition which if achieved would make it the biggest housebuilder by volume in the UK.

Speaking after publication of the firm’s full year results yesterday, Stephen Teagle, chief executive of Vistry’s partnerships housebuilding division, said the business was looking to create a “platform” from which it could produce 20,000 homes.

Teagle’s comments came after the business, which pulled off a £1.1bn takeover of rival Countryside in November last year, yesterday reported statutory pre-tax profit of £248m for the 2022 calendar year, on turnover of £2.73bn, up 13.4%.

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Stephen Teagle said Vistry could produce 20,000 homes a year following its Countryside deal

The firm said it expected to increase “adjusted” pre-tax profit – prior to exceptional items – from the £418m reported yesterday to more than £440m for the current year, and had experienced “increased consumer confidence”.

Teagle told Building’s sister title Housing Today that with the acquisition of Countryside the firm’s partnerships business, now re-branded as Countryside Partnerships, was on course to build around 11,000 homes in the current financial year, more than double the just over 4,500 in the year just gone. He added said there was now capacity in the business to increase partnerships housing volume to 12,000 homes a year.

Earl Sibley, Vistry chief operating officer, said he expected the traditional housebuilding business of Vistry to produce 6,000 homes this year, slightly down from the 6,774 in 2022, but that it now had a capacity to increase production to 8,000 a year.

Teagle said the acquisition had capped a “transformational year” for Vistry and added: “We’ve now got a platform that would allow us to deliver 12,000 homes in partnerships and an ambition in our house building business to in the medium term to deliver 8,000 homes.

“So, the group as a whole is really targeting an ability, through the operational platforms we’ve got, through our excellent strategic land banks, through our brilliant procurement partnerships, and our partnerships with housing associations, through our MMC factory, to deliver 20,000 homes a year.”

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Teagle did not compare Vistry to any other housebuilders or say there was an ambition to be the biggest in the sector. Barratt, which built 17,545 homes last year and is currently the largest housebuilder in the sector by volume, already has a target to increase output to 20,000 homes a year. But so far it has not managed to hit the number and has recently said it expects volume to contract to between 16,500 and 17,000 this financial year in response to the current economic conditions.

This means that Vistry could be the largest housebuilder in the UK as early as this year by number of units built if it hits its expectation to produce 17,000 homes this year, albeit partnership housing tends to deliver slightly lower revenue and significantly lower margins.

Teagle also confirmed on the call that Vistry will look to use the off-site timber frame factories inherited from its purchase of Countryside to supply homes for housing association partners.