(Adds details, CEO quote)
LONDON Jan 5 Britain's second-biggest
housebuilder by volume Persimmon said sales had risen 15
percent since Britons voted in June to leave the European Union
but that it would be hard to better last year's strong
performance in 2017.
Persimmon, which built 15,171 homes across Britain last
year, also posted an expected 8 percent rise in 2016 revenue to
3.14 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) and said profits for the year
would be at the top-end of expectations.
Pre-tax profit for 2016 is forecast to rise nearly 20
percent to 755 million pounds, according to a Thomson Reuters
poll of 12 analysts.
Persimmon said it built 7,933 homes in the six months to the
end of December but it did not give a sales figure in its
trading update on Thursday.
But it said the strong demand seen in 2016 would be
difficult to beat this year.
"We're not anticipating big growth," Chief Executive Jeff
Fairburn told Reuters.
"The first part of the year was a very good trading time for
us in terms of sales so I think the comparables are going to be
quite tough...and perhaps a bit of uncertainty about trading,"
An increase in stamp duty property tax introduced in April
last year encouraged some buyers to push forward their sales to
the first three months of the year, boosting sales in the
period, according to a number of surveys.
Persimmon said it would continue to buy land for future
developments, one of the biggest costs borne by a housebuilder,
but added that uncertainty created by the June 23 referendum
outcome might affect its decision-making.
($1 = 0.8102 pounds)
(Reporting by Costas Pitas, Editing by Paul Sandle and Susan