CEO says move is about putting “customers before volume”
Persimmon slashed the number of homes it sold in the first six months of the year by 6% as part of moves to restore its reputation around quality.
The housebuilder, whose status suffered a battering earlier this year over quality issues, said the decrease was in line with its strategy of only releasing homes for sale in higher demand areas once they were at a more advanced stage of construction.
In a first half trading update Persimmon’s chief executive David Jenkinson said holding off sales of homes was “central to the plan of putting customers before volume”.
The move resulted in total legally completed sales volumes falling 6% year-on-year to 7,584 homes.
The group said it would stick to its plans to delay selling its homes but that volumes would pick up in the second half, “reflecting the normal seasonality of the market”.
Earlier this year the housebuilder was stung by vociferous criticism from customers over the quality of some of its finished homes. In August it announced it had created a team of 31 specialist inspectors to monitor the quality of its housing developments across the country.
Also over the summer Persimmon announced a review into the quality processes of its homes, headed by Grenfell fire survivors’ representative Stephanie Barwise QC.
The housebuilder had also launched a retention scheme which would allow home buyers to withhold a proportion of the house price against any snags they might find on the day they moved in. This was later extended to a week.
Persimmon said it had invested an additional £140m into its work in progress activity and would continue to plough money into improving quality and customer service.
The group said it would publish another trading update on 15 January 2020. It is expected to publish its results for the 12 months to 31 December 2019 in February next year.