Belfast Telegraph

Builder Crest Nicholson sees sales recover following post-Brexit slump

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson said it expects to reach full-year sales targets as buyer confidence recovered after a post-Brexit slump.

In its latest trading update, the company said underlying weekly sales rates per outlet fell to 0.81 in the year to October 31 from 0.9 a year earlier, but highlighted the quarterly rate was in line at 0.77.

Crest Nicholson said the full-year sales drop partly reflects the higher average selling price of the locations that have been up for sale this year, adding that Brexit played a role in depressing demand.

It said that on either side of the Brexit vote, "sales volumes temporarily reduced alongside an increase in the level of cancellations, as uncertainties raised during the referendum and following the vote to leave, had an impact on purchaser confidence".

"By the beginning of August, purchaser confidence had largely recovered," it added.

Buyer confidence helped boost forward sales by 5% to £344.5 million for the financial year as a whole, up from £329 million in 2015.

In total, the company built 2,870 homes over the 12 months to October 31 and expects revenues of around £1 billion when it releases its full year results in January.

Crest Nicholson is now aiming to build 4,000 homes to deliver £1.4 billion in sales by 2019.

Chief executive Stephen Stone said: "I am pleased to report that we are increasing the number of homes built, opening new sites and ensuring that the pipeline of land that fuels our business is progressing steadily through planning."

He added: " There has never been a better time for housebuilding and Crest Nicholson remains well positioned to grow volumes and deliver the homes that the UK needs and create shareholder value over the medium to long term."