Persimmon declares another interim dividend on robust home demand

(Reuters) - British homebuilder Persimmon Plc PSN.L on Tuesday declared another interim dividend of 70 pence per share and said it was fully sold up for the current year after benefiting from a strong summer bounce in the housing market.

The country’s second-largest homebuilder said trading during the summer weeks was robust and it was confident that home completions in the second half of the year will be at least in line with last year.

Pent-up demand, stamp duty breaks and a gradual shift to spacious properties as Britons reassess housing needs at a time when a majority of them are working from home due to the coronavirus crisis have helped homebuilders recoup any hit to their businesses after the first round of lockdown.

While positive results from Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine on Monday has offered hopes of a quick rebound in the world economy, the UK also faces the risk of a no-deal Brexit in the next couple of months, potentially making it harder for the housing market to get back on its feet.

In tandem with Persimmon's upbeat trading update, its rival Taylor Wimpey TW.L gave a robust forecast for the next year on Monday.

“A further interim dividend of 70p per share will be paid on Dec. 14, 2020, which together with the interim dividend of 40p per share paid in September, replaces the previously postponed 110p per share final dividend declared for 2019,” the FTSE-100 company said.

Total forward sales have increased by 43% year-on-year to 1.36 billion pounds for the current year and average private weekly sales rates per site was 38% ahead of last year.

Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich