Confidence from Taylor Wimpey in spite of Brexit

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it had been 'encouraged' in its first month of trading in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, with stronger-than-expected sales rates and customer interest, after it posted a rise in first-half profits.

Taylor Wimpey said it is business as usual after it boosted profits and shrugged off uncertainty surrounding Britain's referendum on the EU. Picture: PA

Profit before tax and exceptional items for the period ended 3 July showed a year-on-year jump of 12 per cent to £266.6 million, while revenue grew by 9.1 per cent to reach £1.46 billion.

Group finance director Ryan Mangold told The Scotsman that overall the results were “certainly in line with our expectations, and continue to be in line with expectations for delivery for the full year”.

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He added that sales rates and levels of customer interest after the EU referendum were stronger than the group had initially expected.

The group flagged that as of 24 July, it was about 90 per cent forward-sold for private completions for 2016, with a total order book value, excluding joint ventures, of £2.24bn, up from £2.01bn in the equivalent period in 2015.

Pete Redfern, chief executive, said the first half saw the group deliver a “strong operational and financial performance with continued growth in profitability,” building more than 6,000 new homes across the country in the period.

He added: “Whilst it is still too early to assess the longer-term impact from the referendum result on the housing market, we are encouraged by the first month’s trading and by continued competitive lending from the mortgage providers as well as the positive commentary from government and policymakers.”

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Taylor Wimpey isn’t blinking in the face of Brexit, and its early indications show the referendum hasn’t really dented business.”

Mangold said: “We certainly aren’t blinking, but clearly we are very much focused on balance-sheet discipline, very much focused on business execution and we’re very much focused on delivery of our medium-term targets.”

He added that looking to 2017 and 2018, the group was “not uncomfortable” with where consensus is sitting, and was well-positioned if a “cyclical change” materialises, “which we’re not convinced it will”.