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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Persimmon upbeat on house market
Man laying bricks
The government's housing drive may boost business, the firm says
Persimmon, Britain's largest housebuilder, has unveiled a jump in profits and says it expects the housing market to remain robust.

Pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 June rose 9.8% to 281.1m as it racked up sales worth 1.51bn.

Looking ahead, forward sales for the second half stand at 1.35bn - about 85% of its full-year target.

Persimmon added that despite recent interest rate rises it still expected the housing market to remain strong.

The company added that despite the traditional summer lull, it believed the market would remain robust "as long as current assumptions on interest rates remain intact, and employment data continues to be supportive".

"This, coupled with general confidence in the housing market, should deliver the normal seasonal upturn in activity throughout the autumn selling period," it added.

Despite planning problems which have affected the industry as a whole, the firm said all of its divisions had experienced underlying price growth - albeit with some regional and local differences.

It also welcomed government plans to boost the country's housing stock, adding it had continued to increase its landbank providing a "strong platform" for the business.

Persimmon controlled 82,145 housing plots in the first six months of the year - up from 80,085 in December - as well as holding 22,000 acres of strategic land.

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