Housebuilder Persimmon has said it successfully opened 255 new development sites across the UK during the past year, and that it was building on all sites which had an implementable planning consent.

It added that it expected its gross margin in the second half of the year to have improved further thanks to a combination of the continued reduction in its land cost recoveries associated with opening new sites, and the continued strong control over development costs.

In an update ahead of its final results for the year ended 31 December, 2016 – to be released in February – it said that revenues for 2016 of £3.14 billion (€3.66 billion) were 8% higher than the previous year when it was £2.90 billion (€3.38 billion). Legal completion volumes increased by 599 new homes to 15,171.

Sales reservations through the autumn season were said to have been strong, with healthy customer demand for new homes.

Persimmon said that it had continued to focus on “disciplined high quality growth to achieve sustainable market share in our regional markets”.

It said that the two new house building businesses it opened at the start of 2016 –based in Perth, Scotland, and Launceston, Cornwall – had made good progress, delivering over 650 new homes in their first year of operation.

On 2 January, 2017, it launched a further new business based in Mansfield, in the English Midlands, to support the delivery of increased volumes of new homes in this regional market.

During 2016, Persimmon acquired approximately 18,700 plots of new land in 83 locations.

It said, “We continue to see good opportunities to acquire additional land while remaining mindful of the risks associated with the uncertainty arising from the UK's decision to leave the EU.

“We continue to work hard to bring forward opportunities from the group’s strategic land portfolio which will add to the quality of the group’s asset platform. We expect local authorities to continue to progress their plans to support growth in housing delivery in line with the National Planning Policy Framework.”

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