In many respects results from Persimmon are the starter ahead of the main course later today when Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to deliver another tasty morsel of government support for housebuilders in the form of a first-time buyer mortgage guarantee scheme.
There may also be an extension to the stamp duty holiday which helped supercharge Persimmon’s recovery from the property market’s deep freeze upon the first lockdown.
There were some eye-catching details in Persimmon’s full year numbers, not least the fact it is sitting on more than £1 billion of cash in the bank and that it saw a material increase in average selling prices last year despite the impact of the pandemic, according to AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“Clearly results were affected by restrictions and build rates only returned to pre-Covid levels by July 2020 but Persimmon is mindful that in its scramble to catch up it not neglect build quality after a somewhat chequered past on these issues.
“Persimmon’s decision to boost its team of quality controllers to more than 60 by the end of 2021 should be seen in this context as it looks to ensure that it lives up to a pledge to ‘build right, first time, every time’.
“Recently appointed CEO Dean Finch is obviously keen to bolster Persimmon’s ESG credentials across the board – introducing the living wage and looking to apply its principles in its wider supply chain and across its development partnerships while also adopting tougher environmental targets.
“Finch clearly hopes Persimmon can move from bad boy to head boy status in the sector, after its historic governance, construction and customer care issues.”