Belfast Telegraph

Persimmon hails resilient economy as forward home sales leap to £2.6bn

Housebuilder Persimmon has thanked the "resilience of the UK economy" for helping drive an 11% surge in forward home sales since the start of the year.

The Charles Church group said total forward sales, including legal completions, had leapt to £2.6 billion in the year so far, up from £2.3 billion a year earlier.

Its weekly private sales rate is running 12% higher since the end of February, bringing the total of homes sold so far in 2017 to 8,928 at an average selling price of around £229,500.

Persimmon said: "Persimmon's operational performance continues to be excellent, with the group delivering higher volumes of newly built homes in local communities across all our regional markets, supported by the resilience of the UK economy.

"The prevailing disciplined approach to mortgage lending is enabling customers to buy newly built homes on attractive but sustainable terms."

The update came as the firm braced for shareholder ire at its annual general meeting (AGM) at York Racecourse on Thursday amid concerns over pay plans for top bosses.

Shareholders advisory groups Glass Lewis and Pirc had recommended investors oppose its remuneration report, raising worries over long-term bonus plans for executive directors.

Pirc said shareholders should oppose the pay policy and incentive share plan because of "excessive" maximum rewards.

However, 90.19% of shareholders approved the annual report on remuneration at the AGM, while 96.67% also backed a new remuneration policy outlined by the firm.

Rival builder Crest Nicholson suffered a shareholder revolt last month when more than 58% of investors voted against its remuneration report after the firm slashed profit targets that help determine performance-based bonuses for its directors.

Shares in Persimmon closed up more than 2% on the FTSE 100 Index.