YORK housebuilder Persimmon has seen full year revenues surpass the £2 billion mark in what bosses have described as a “year of significant progress”.

Announcing its full year results to December 31, 2013, Persimmon recorded a 49 per cent rise in profit before tax compared to the previous year, up from £222 million to £330 million.

The firm, which employs 105 of 2,500 staff at its headquarters in Fulford, saw average selling prices increase by four per cent to £181,861, and acquired a further 17,735 plots of land bringing its total landbank up to 74,407, representing a supply for the next 6.5 years.

Nicholas Wrigley, group chairman, said: "Persimmon achieved a strong result for the year as we responded quickly to the increased customer demand that resulted from improved mortgage lending, the introduction of Help to Buy in April 2013 and the increase in consumer confidence as the UK returned to more meaningful economic growth.

“Our success in increasing build rates significantly in response, with second half volumes 30 per cent ahead of those in the first six months, underpinned a robust overall performance.”

Mr Wrigley said the Persimmon Group has started 2014 with a “very strong” forward order book, and that the early weeks of the spring selling season have been “encouraging”, with the firm’s weekly private sales rate per site being 22 per cent ahead of last year for the first eight weeks.

Persimmon has already opened 40 of the 90 new sites planned for the first half of 2014.

Group chief executive Jeff Fairburn said: “Our forward order book indicates a further improvement in profitability as we progress through 2014.

“This will be supported as we open up new sites and focus on achieving further efficiencies and operational improvements.

“We experienced strengthening trading conditions as we progressed through 2013.

“The initial challenges we faced during the period with respect to labour and material resource management gradually receded through the second half of the year.

“Indeed the action we have been taking over the last two years to increase the number of apprentices and graduate trainees recruited into the business has proved to be of great benefit in helping us manage the significant increase in activity successfully.

“I am pleased with the progress the Group has made in 2013. Furthermore, I am greatly encouraged by the energy, imagination and dedication of the whole Persimmon team from which I draw a great deal of confidence for the future of the business.

“I would like to thank them for all their efforts and hard work.”