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Taylor Wimpey to re-open show homes and sales centres in England and Wales

Show home viewings will be unaccompanied and only one family at a time will be able to view each house

Taylor Wimpey - Taylor Wimpey to re-open show homes and sales centres
Sales centres have been shut since March 24

Taylor Wimpey PLC (LON:TW.), the housebuilder, said it is to start a phased re-opening of its sales centres and show homes following updated UK government guidance on coronavirus.

The FTSE 100-listed group re-started construction In England and Wales at the start of May having shut its sites on March 24. Work is now underway at almost 90% of sites, it said.

Sales and show homes stayed closed then but following new government guidance will start to open again from May 22.

Initially, this will be for pre-booked appointments and with strict social distancing rules, the company said.

Perspex screens and distance marker guides will be installed with show home viewings unaccompanied and limited to one family at a time to view each house. 

Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey’s chief executive, welcomed the government’s plans to re-open the housing market.

“However, we believe that it is our responsibility to apply these rules carefully and protect the health of our customers and employees,” he added in a statement.

Housing market conditions have remained stable with signs of increased sales activity and customer interest since the re-start of site activities, the group said.

In a trading update, the builder added that cancellation rates had fallen and it sold a net 408 homes during the lockdown period.

Total orders on May 10 had also increased to 11,033 homes with a value of £2.7bn from £2.5bn a year ago.

During the lockdown, the builder said it had extended warranty periods and launched a new discount scheme for care workers.

William Ryder, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “0.3 private sales per outlet per week is really slow – Taylor Wimpey averaged 0.96 in the last financial year.

"But slow sales are to be expected when we’re all stuck in our current lodgings, and the question has always been: what happens when we’re let out?

"Taylor Wimpey investors will be hoping the sales rate recovers in the next couple of months and prices remain firm. However, it’s also possible that prices fall, which could start to put real strain on the housebuilding sector.

"The key is going to be consumer confidence because houses are big purchases and the marginal buyer will drop out of the market if it looks like they could be heading into a rough patch financially.

"What matters is the speed of the economic recovery – and that’s out of Taylor Wimpey’s hands.”

Shares eased 1% to 144.25p.


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Quick facts: Taylor Wimpey

Price: 157.2 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £5.73 billion

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