Housebuilder Countryside enjoys 65% boost in orders

Housebuilder Countryside Properties has seen a surge in interest for new homes, the company revealed.

Bosses said its forward order book is up 65% to £1.57 billion in the three months to December 31, compared with the same period a year earlier. The reservation rate was also up 29% on the same basis, with strong demand for both private and affordable homes.

The sector has faced a tough year, with house prices stalling and the economy weakening following the 2016 Brexit referendum.

But businesses have said they feel more stable and confident for the future following the General Election result last month, which returned a decisive majority.

Countryside added it completed three more homes in the period compared to a year earlier, with 1,097 built. Private average selling prices fell by £1,000 to £394,000, it added.

The company said the growth in reservations was “driven by a strong market along with the quality of open outlets”.

Some housebuilders have faced criticism in recent months for poor build quality on new homes.

Rival Persimmon launched an independent investigation after safety concerns were raised. The report found a series of failures, including fire barriers not installed correctly.

Countryside also revealed its partnerships division, which works with local authorities, completed 855 homes during the period.

It added: “We had a very strong quarter for new business, securing 4,165 plots including a scheme to build 581 homes in Waltham Forest, London, 700 homes in Salford, Greater Manchester and a total of 1,673 homes for our newly established regions.”

The housebuilding division completed 242 homes – down from 244 a year ago – with options for 350 new homes in Bedfordshire, 400 in Knebworth, Herfordshire, along with outline planning for 1,138 homes in Maldon, Essex and 750 in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire.

Countryside added: “With some of the political uncertainty now having eased and sales levels in line with expectations for this point in the year, we remain on track to deliver our full year plans.”