UK Markets close in 6 hrs 5 mins

Crest Nicholson repays furlough money as housebuilder cheers encouraging buyer demand

Joanna Bourke
·2-min read
One of Crest Nicholson’s sites (crest nicholson)
One of Crest Nicholson’s sites (crest nicholson)

Crest Nicholson has repaid furlough money, the housebuilder said on Tuesday as it revealed demand for properties is looking encouraging beyond the stamp duty holiday ending.

The FTSE 250 company gave the update as it showed how the year to October 31 was one of two distinct halves, and a period where it swung to a loss.

It was originally hit by political uncertainty in late 2019 impacting buyer confidence. Later in the first half it was hit by Covid-19 disruption, as the housing market was effectively shut down in March.

But restrictions were eased in May and since then Crest Nicholson has been among housebuilders that have seen trading boosted by pent-up demand following the first lockdown, and the stamp duty holiday launched in July.

The number of homes the firm sold in the year to October 31 was 2247, down 22.8%, and total revenue dropped 37.6% to £677.9 million.

It recorded a statutory pre-tax loss of £13.5 million from a £102.7 million profit due to factors such as writing down the value of some sites and Covid costs.

Stripping out one off costs, adjusted pre-tax profits were £45.9 million, down from £121.1 million but ahead of City forecasts.

Chief executive Peter Truscott said: “Market conditions in the period following the easing of spring lockdown restrictions have been strong and consistent.”

He said the company will be monitoring how demand is when the stamp duty holiday finishes at the end of March. But he added: “The evidence so far is we are still making plenty of reservations for completions that go beyond the stamp duty deadline.”

In December the company repaid £2.5 million of furlough money it got from the government during the pandemic.

Read More

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson says dividends will return

Crest Nicholson home sales dented by political uncertainty