Housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) fell 3.2% to £29.73 as investors appeared to be put off by the lack of any real clarity on the outlook for profitability and costs in its latest trading update.

The company said that pre-Covid build rates have been achieved across its sites with an improvement in build quality and customer service.

It reported total revenue of £1.84bn for the six months ending 30 June 2021, up from £1.19 billion in 2020 and £1.75 billion in 2019. With forward sales of £1.82 billion.

Ahead of its half-year results, which are expected 18 August, Dean Finch, group chief executive said that demand for homes has been strong across the UK.

During the period, the group has purchased over 10,000 new plots across 48 locations underpinned by a cash position of £1.3 billion which is also enabling the company to bring forward the payment of 110p per share of surplus capital (covering the 2020 financial year) to 13 August.

COSTS CONUNDRUM

However, there is only limited reference to the cost inflation hitting the sector – with the company saying house price growth is mitigating the impact.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould commented: ‘There may be some frustration in the market at the absence of any specific guidance from Persimmon on margins beyond a vague suggestion that rising house prices should mitigate supply chain pressures.

‘This statement suggests that should a buoyant housing market start to cool, Persimmon might see its profitability come under pressure thanks to rising costs amid shortages of materials and labour.

‘Investors may well demand more detail on these issues when Persimmon announces its first half results next month.’

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 08 Jul 2021