Persimmon (LSE: PSN) isn’t one of the two FTSE 100 homebuilders I personally own. However, I would happily buy this share and hold it forever, like the couple currently sitting in my stocks portfolio.
Brexit might have hampered the electric price growth Persimmon and its peers have enjoyed in previous years, though it hasn’t stopped their bottom lines from continuing to chug happily higher. Which begs a question. If the builders can remain strong in spite of the uncertainty, and possible economic harm, caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, what exactly will it take to throw these businesses off course?
Is the market actually improving?
Indeed, despite broader homebuying activity in the UK being at its most subdued for decades, the trading environment for the newbuild specialists remains pretty robust. And this was illustrated by Persimmon’s latest financials this week in which it advised forward sales remained stable year-on-year as of last week, at £1.6bn, while average selling prices were up fractionally at £238,350.
In fact, recent data suggests conditions in the housing market are picking up despite this unprecedented political and economic uncertainty. The latest home price report from Halifax on Friday showed the average property price surge 5.7% in June, the third month in a row in which values have risen by 5% or more.
Look, I’m not going to downplay the likely impact that delaying the UK’s planned Brexit date to October 31 from the spring has had on property values more recently. Still, for home prices to be growing at all right now underlines the immense scale of the country’s homes shortage which is keeping prices afloat.
In great shape
That latest update from Persimmon might not have been as strong as days gone by, as it also revealed a drop in revenues and completions in the six months to June. However, this needs to be seen in the context of Persimmon’s decision to delay sales releases to later in the construction process, a move made in response to recent buyer complaints over home quality and the overall customer service process.
This consequent sales slowdown certainly doesn’t worry me. Bovis Homes has strongly recovered since it was forced to prioritise quality over build rates following a similar scandal a couple of years back, the business recording record profits in the most recent fiscal year. I see no reason why Persimmon’s bottom line can’t impress on the growth front in the years ahead either, and neither do City analysts.
Current forecasts suggest the Footsie firm will bounce from a predicted 3% earnings drop in 2019 straight back into growth next year. As a consequence, they expect the company to make good on its promise to pay bulky dividends of 235p per share through the next couple of years too, resulting in a massive 12.4% forward yield.
As I said, the UK’s homes shortage is colossal and is likely to take donkey’s years to resolve, something which should be music to the ears of the homebuilders and their investors.
There’s no reason why Persimmon et al can’t keep generating brilliant profits growth over this period, and this is why I plan to hold Barratt and Taylor Wimpey in my own portfolio right up to retirement.
Royston Wild owns shares of Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.