Housebuilder Persimmon has said it sold more homes in the first quarter than it did last year, but admitted prices had not picked up steam.

Directors said the upturn had beaten its expectations and came despite a 16 per cent reduction in the number of available sites.

But the York-based firm said while the sales volume figures were up, its pricing and margins remained “under pressure”. It added: “Whilst the recent improvement in market conditions is encouraging, we will remain cautious about the outlook until mortgage availability improves further and employment prospects become less uncertain.”

Persimmon said it has around 6,500 homes reserved, contracted or completed, which translates to total sales revenue of approximately £960 million.