Genius or folly? Why Countryside’s decision to get out of housebuilding is causing a stir

Countryside Sigma Beam Park

Countryside’s decision to wind down a profitable housebuilding division and focus on partnerships has divided opinion

“We have an excellent housebuilding business, with a strong presence in the resilient South East housing market and a leading strategic land bank,” said Countryside in its full year results published in December.

The numbers certainly look pretty good. Countryside’s housebuilding arm has a landbank of more than 25,000 plots in and around the high-value London and Home Counties markets. In the six months to 31 March, it generated £265.2m of revenue, around 40% of Countryside’s total turnover, and made £31.8m of profit (compared to its partnerships division, which made £8.4 mIllion).

Despite all this, Countryside earlier this month made it very clear in a stock market announcement that it wants out of the housebuilding game.

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