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Housing market looks stronger since vote

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Wed 24 Aug 2016

Housing market looks stronger since vote

The see-saw of conflicting post-Brexit indicators is continuing with figures from house builder Persimmon suggesting a strong housing market - contradicting the tone of stories earlier this week from estate agencies and some analysts.

Half-year figures as reported to the City by Persimmon - Britain’s largest builder by volume - show a 29 leap in profits for the six months to the end of June, with the builder saying the market since the EU Referendum at the end of June being "robust".

The reservation rate since July 1 is 17% higher than at the same time last year and visitors to its sites are 20 per cent higher than this time in 2015.

"The group is now trading through the traditionally slower summer weeks but customer demand remains encouraging and we anticipate a good autumn sales season" group chief executive Jeff Fairburn told the City. Pre-tax profits for the six month period for the company are £352.3m.

The company accepts that the build up to the Brexit vote was defined by uncertainty and some public resistance, but chairman Nicholas Wrigley says: "After a modest increase in the week following the referendum result, cancellations have returned to normal levels and are currently running slightly lower than the same period last year."

The upbeat mood music from Persimmon contrasts with more cautious reports earlier this week from Countrywide, which anticipates a slowdown in growth and minor house price falls next year, and from business consultancy UBS Wealth Management, which forecasts a flatlining in house price growth across the UK. Agency Marsh & Parsons, in a market report earlier this week, spoke of house price falls in parts of London.