Countryside Properties had a “very strong” first quarter of its financial year, with completions up 47% to 852 units (Q1 2017: 581 units), ahead of expectations.
Issuing a trading statement for the period from October to December 2017, the housebuilder reported that it has brought down its private average selling price (ASP) across the business by 11% to £394,000 “in line with our strategic objectives” with underlying sales price growth of 3%.
Net reservations per active outlet per week stood at 0.70 (0.73) with open sales outlets up 7% to 49. Countryside has a private forward order book of £242.9 million against £292.9 million last year.
The Partnerships division saw 50% growth in completions and secured an additional 1,128 plots during the quarter, commencing construction on five new sites in London. Private ASP in the division reduced in line with expectations to £319,000 (£361,000) due to growth in the West Midlands and change of mix in the Southern region.
Housebuilding saw completions up 39% and maintained its strategic led land bank at 20,118 plots. Private ASP in this division rose slightly to £545,000 (£537,000). The firm anticipates continued outlet growth in the remainder of the year as active sites are converted to open outlets.
Overall Countryside says trading remains robust, with the strongest demand in the price points below £600,000. “Our mixed tenure delivery and an increase in the number of active sites, up 22% to 96, continue to underpin our sector-leading growth,” the firm said in its statement. “With good visibility of future growth, we expect performance for the full year to be in line with current market expectations.”
Ian Sutcliffe, Countryside group chief executive, said: “We have had a strong start to the year. We entered FY 2018 with a record forward order book which, combined with our mixed tenure model, has enabled us to deliver sector leading growth in completions and improved cash conversion. We remain on track to deliver both our short and medium term plans.”