STAFF absences due to Covid, supply chain disruptions and other challenges of the pandemic have impacted a major York housebuilder.

Persimmon said the surge of the Omicron variant had led to a 'pick-up in sickness-related absenteeism' while some customers had chosen to delay moving into their new homes as they isolated in line with advice.

But the York-headquartered construction company, which has just appointed Jason Windsor as chief financial officer, revealed it was in a strong position in its latest trading update.

York Press:

Jason Windsor

The report highlighted that Persimmon's industry-leading margins remained resilient, it had a strong management team and high-quality land holdings 'providing an excellent platform for future growth'.

Highlights for 2021 include the securing 14,551 new home completions, compared to 13,575 in 2020.

The average selling price was £237,050, up from £230,534, and Persimmon had delivered total Group revenues of £3.61bn, up from £3.33bn in 2020.

The company's final results for 2021 will be released on March 2, 2022.

Dean Finch, Group chief executive, said: “Persimmon’s performance has been excellent through the year, delivering high-quality growth.

"While continuing to provide five-star levels of customer satisfaction the business provided 14,551 new homes at an anticipated full year underlying operating margin of about 28 per cent, maintaining our industry-leading performance.

“We have continued to secure high-quality land opportunities, bringing over 20,500 new plots into the business in 2021 representing in excess of 140 per cent of current consumption levels.

"This strong pipeline provides excellent momentum for the Group’s future growth. Our teams are working diligently to bring these sites into construction as soon as possible to enable us to deliver much needed homes across the UK.

“Whilst the industry continues to face the ongoing operational and economic challenges as a consequence of the pandemic, particularly as the Omicron outbreak unfolded in the last six weeks of the year, the Group continues to manage these ongoing challenges comprehensively.

"The long-term fundamentals of the UK housing market remain strong and I am confident of Persimmon’s future success.”

Highlights also included new housing revenues of £3.45bn which were 10 per cent ahead of 2020 at £3.13bn, and about one per cent ahead of 2019 (£3.42bn).

As expected, new home legal completions of 14,551 were about seven per cent ahead of the 13,575 in 2020, and included 12,018 new homes sold to private owner occupiers - up from 11,363.

The Group’s average selling price increased by 2.8 per cent to about £237,050, with a greater proportion of new homes sold to housing association partners compared with 2020.

At £259,200, the average selling price of new homes sold to owner occupiers was about three per cent of 2020's £250,897.

The Group delivered 2,533 new homes to its housing association partners representing 17.4 per cent of total homes delivered, an increase from 16.3 per cent last year.

The update said Persimmon had managed the pandemic challenges well, including disruption to the supply chain and customer support services which increased in the latter part of 2021 with the onset of Omicron.

Persimmon traded from about 285 active outlets in the second half compared with 305 in 2020.

The Group continues to bring new land into construction but there have been delays to some outlet openings due to the slower planning system.

At the end of the year the Group had 290 UK developments under construction.

The Group’s forward sales at 31 December 2021 were £1.62bn, about. 20 per cent ahead of 2019 (2019: £1.36bn) - 2019 is a more comparable year due to the pandemic-related disruption to 2020.

The Group’s balance sheet and liquidity remain robust.

The Group held £1.25bn of cash at 31 December 2021 with deferred land commitments of c. £400m.

"We share the Secretary of State’s aspiration that leaseholders should not have to pay to remove cladding. Indeed, we made a commitment a year ago that leaseholders in buildings constructed by Persimmon, including all those above 11 metres, should not have to cover the cost of cladding removal.

"We have constructed only a very small proportion of buildings affected by this issue.

"In common with the rest of the housebuilding industry, we will shortly begin paying the cladding levy announced in the Budget."