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Persimmon and MJ Gleeson to re-open sales offices in England

Persimmon offices and sites remain shut in Scotland

Persimmon - Persimmon and MJ Gleeson to open sales centres and resume full operations
New social distancing rules will be enforced at show homes

Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN) and MJ Gleeson (LON:GLE) have both announced a return to full operation through the re-opening of the housebuilders respective sales offices following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Persimmon shut down on March 25  but re-started construction on April 27 and said that after testing new work protocols it is will re-open show homes and sales centres from tomorrow.

As Persimmon did not furlough staff during the lockdown it said it expects to be back up to speed relatively quickly, though initially, sales consultations will be on a pre-booked appointment basis only. All business in Scotland, however, will remain closed.

During the week beginning May 4, 65% of production capacity had been restored, the FTSE100 group added, and it sold 1,300 homes in the eight weeks to May 10 and took 1,351 private orders.

David Jenkinson, Persimmon's chief executive said in a statement: "We support the Government's view that the housing sector has a key role to play in the UK's economic recovery.

“The urgent need for new homes has not been diminished by COVID-19 and the new measures announced by the Government will re-open the housing market and allow people to get moving again.”

MJ Gleeson, meanwhile, said it hopes to have started building work on half of its sites by the end of this week and to have all sites open by the end of June.

All 19 sales offices are expected to open within two weeks, though by appointment only at first. Staff will come off furlough as the sites and offices open, the builder said.

During the lockdown, the company said: 'We continued to take reservations and exchange contracts for sale, albeit at significantly lower levels."

Selling prices, incentives or lender valuations had not changed, it added.

Gleeson said that as it focuses on low-cost homes for first-time buyers it expects its segment of the housing market will recover fastest. Its order book is currently worth £124.5mln on 888 plots.

Rival Taylor Wimpey also said it would re-open its sales centres and show homes after the change in government policy on coronavirus.

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