Persimmon, the York-based national housebuilder which also trades as Charles Church and Westbury Partnership, today reported a strong H1 performance with pre-tax profits up 65% to £98.3 million from sales up 6% to 4712 new homes worth some £806 million.

Persimmon average selling prices are up 7% to £171,206, in part thanks to a change in mix to larger family houses, as the Westbury Partnership's social housing output was down 12% with 751 completions, while the Charles Church premium housing business was up 30% to 1123 completions.

Persimmon reports that sales are continuing normally through the quieter summer period and have remained 5% ahead of last year during Q3. Persimmon is assisting customers wanting a new house by part exchanging on their old one, and as some 20% of private customers use this option, Persimmon now has £47.3 million of part-exchanged houses on it's books, up from £36.4 million at the same time last year.

The NewBuy scheme is starting to gain traction, and although there have only been 220 completed sales since the introduction of the scheme in March, there is now considerable interest.

Persimmon has further increased it's land bank by some 1400 plots to 63,786 consented plots and has strategic land holdings of 16,100 acres which if consented would yield 90,000 plots, which underpins the firm's drive to increase profits by reducing land costs.

Persimmon is another builder sitting on a cash pile, with net cash of £135 million at the end of June despite it's dividend policy; it has further strengthened it's NAV by 4% to 625p per share over the period. It's shares closed at 705p last night valuing the firm at £2.131 billion.