Vistry PLC (LON:VTY) has reported a strong start to sales in 2021, with the last four weeks seeing a big uplift said the Kent-based housebuilder.
The housebuilding sector was one of the winners from yesterday’s Budget with an extension of the stamp duty holiday and a new mortgage guarantee scheme, with the Chancellor highlighting that a backlog of deals was building up.
Vistry, which was formed by a merger of Bovis with Linden Homes and Vistry partnerships, said its sales rate had risen to 0.66 per active site per week in the first eight weeks of 2021, which was higher than the same period a year ago.
In the last four weeks, that rate had risen to 0.78 it added, with prices holding up and good availability of staff and materials. Forward sales worth £1.75bn had already been booked for 2021, it said.
In 2020, the March coronavirus lockdown disruption meant completions during the year fell to 4,652 (2019 proforma: 6,884).
Revenues for the year were £1.81bn (£1.13bn) while profit before tax fell to £98.7mln (£174.5mln). Adjusted operating profits fell 24% to £144mln.
Vistry also took an additional exceptional charge of £11mln for fire safety repairs to apartment blocks following new guidelines after the Grenfell Tower disaster inquiry. Provisions for potential remedial work now total £20.9mln.
Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive, said: "2021 has started well with strong demand across all areas.
“We have a strong forward sales position, with 64% of forecast units for 2021 already secured.
“Assuming stable market conditions, the group is confident it will more than double profits in the year, with a profit before tax of at least £310mln.”
Dividends have been resumed with a final payment of 20p.