First-timers help drive house-sale figures

Persimmon, the UK’s largest housebuilder, said yesterday that a return of first-time buyers to the market helped sales grow by 19 per cent during the autumn.

Interest in government shared equity schemes meant the firm has seen 35 per cent more first-time buyers visit its sites since 1 July.

“We are now taking good levels of reservations using this incentive which is delivering attractive savings for customers when compared to the cost of an equivalent rented property,” the group said.

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More starter homes mean its average selling price for the year will be slightly lower than last year’s £169,000.

Rival Bovis said private reservations in the 44 weeks to 4 November were up 22 per cent at 1,480, and it expects to complete between 5 per cent and 10 per cent more homes than last year.

Meanwhile, Robertson Group, the Elgin-based construction business which has undergone a major restructuring in the past two years, has reduced net debts to £56.2 million from £83.5m according to its latest accounts for the year to 4 April. Operating losses fell to £878,000, compared to £8.6m, despite turnover dropping to £232m from £268.6m.