YORK (CU)_Over the past year, UK’s housing market recorded a historical boom driven by cheap mortgage deals and a stamp duty holiday. Although a new hike in COVID infections led by the Omicron variant has given rise to several challenges, the country’s biggest house builder remains confident over the strength of housing market.
In its recent trading update British house building company Persimmon said that its revenues rose by 8.4 per cent to £3.61 billion (US$4.92 billion) last year, as sales began recovering during the second half of 2021. The York-based company registered a total of 14,551 homes, an increase of almost 1,000 from the year earlier, while the average house prices also rose from £230,534 to £237,050 year-on-year.
However, house builder revealed that there has been an increase in sickness-related absenteeism, as a result of the spread of the Omicron variant, which is forcing some customers to delay moving into new homes to follow government isolation advice, although the firm’s chief executive Dean Finch noted that the industry is capable of tackling these pandemic-induced challenges quite successfully.
“While the industry continues to face the ongoing operational and economic challenges as a consequence of the pandemic, particularly as the Omicron outbreak unfolded in the last six weeks of the year, the group continues to manage these ongoing challenges comprehensively,” he said. “The long-term fundamentals of the UK housing market remain strong and I am confident.”
Commenting on the government’s plans to force house builders to pay to fix defective cladding following the Grenfell fire, Persimmon said it shared the views of the secretary of state that leaseholders should not have to pay for it. “Indeed, we made a commitment a year ago that leaseholders in buildings constructed by Persimmon, including all those above 11 metres, should not have to cover the cost of cladding removal,” the company said. “We have constructed only a very small proportion of buildings affected by this issue. In common with the rest of the house building industry, we will shortly begin paying the cladding levy announced in the budget.”