Affordable and build to rent homes lift Countryside

Aaron Morby 5 years ago
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House builder Countryside lifted completions by 43% to 2,362 homes in the first half of the year, after strong growth in affordable and build to rent homes.

Sutcliffe says geographic expansion following the integration of Westleigh provides Countryside with a strong platform for future growth
Sutcliffe says geographic expansion following the integration of Westleigh provides Countryside with a strong platform for future growth

Growth in total completions was driven by a 146% increase in affordable completions to 806 homes, largely as a result of the Westleigh business acquisition last year. 

But even excluding Westleigh, Countryside enjoyed organic growth in completions of 12%. 

In addition, private rental homes were up two-thirds to 594 homes, driven by a framework agreement to deliver 5,000 homes over three years for Sigma Capital Group.

This helped to drive adjusted operating profit in the first half up by 11% to almost £90m on revenue up by a fifth to £564m.

Private completions remained flat at 489 homes.

Ian Sutcliffe, chief executive, said: “We have delivered excellent growth in the first six months of the year and have continued positive momentum into the second half.

“We see strong demand for our high-quality homes and have underpinned margins with operational efficiency and the opening of our modular panel factory. We remain confident of delivering full year and medium-term expectations.”

In the first half of the year, private average selling price slipped 4% to £377,000, driven by an increase in the regional businesses in the North and Midlands where average selling prices were lower.

Sutcliffe said that underlying house price inflation was broadly flat in the half year, while annual build cost inflation was running at around 3%-4%.

He added: “While we have seen increases on both materials and labour, a greater use of standard house types and operational efficiency on site is enabling us to manage these pressures.”

He said that Countryside’s modular timber panel factory in Warrington was now fully operational with around 500 units expected to be delivered in the current financial year.

The factory will service Countryside’s northern regions with a total capacity of 1,500 units in FY 2020, helping improve build speed and to secure our supply chain for the longer-term.

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