The UK's largest housebuilder sounded an upbeat note yesterday as it rejected fears the property market could be hit by rising interest rates.
Announcing a 16 per cent rise in half-year profits to £271.5 million, Persimmon said there had been "no tangible effect" on business after the Bank of England's decision to add quarter of a percentage point this month.
Executive chairman John White said: "For the majority of homebuyers, decisions to move are driven by family dynamics and we expect a healthy market to be sustainable."
Persimmon, which operates the Charles Church brand, said visitor levels remained good while sales reservations and revenues ran ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis.
Turnover was up 42 per cent to £1.5 billion in the first six months, and at a record £2.9 billion in the year to date.
While Persimmon expects to meet volume targets, it said there were unlikely to be selling price increases above those already realised. The average price in the first half was £188,427, up three per cent.
Home completions rose more than 38 per cent to 8,226, helped by the addition of Westbury, which Persimmon acquired for £664 million in January.
Integration was completed ahead of expectations, with Persimmon managing to halt Westbury's decline in margins. Before acquisition, Westbury's operating margin was 13.9 per cent, compared with the 23 per cent at Persimmon in the first half last year. The company closed eight offices with the loss of 550 jobs. Persimmon shares closed down 16p at 1260p.
Mr White added: "The group is well placed to take advantage of a strong and stable housing market."
Tessa Guy, an analyst at Investec Securities, said half-year figures were at the top end of expectations.
She added: "Persimmon is one of our preferred picks given it has the necessary scale and landbank which should enable it to outperform peers. It also has the financial firepower to grow by acquisition."
Persimmon has a landbank of 92,156 plots - five years' supply. A large amount land acquired with Westbury has excellent potential, the company added.
The group's recentlycreated Central Division under regional chief executive David Thornton completed 2,968 units at an average price of £168,147 compared with £169,582 last year.
"Prices have been stable with pressure on margins in the north of its area whilst the Midlands has been patchy," the company's statement said.
"Sales rates are quite satisfactory for the time of year."
Local projects include the redevelopment of the Cape Hill brewery site in Smethwick which will see the construction of nearly 1,000 homes.