In a trading update released ahead of it's final full year results to be released next month, Persimmon's figures are indicative of a healthy house building industry with lots of positives for the coming year.
With 2016 turnover up by 8% to £3.14bn, over 15,000 completions (an extra 599 over 2015) and a 4% increase in average selling price, things are looking pretty good the York based house builder.
One of the country's biggest house builders, Persimmon builds under its own brand as well as Charles Church and Westbury Partnerships.
Interestingly, the average selling price at £206,700 was up £7.5K year on year, but little changed from the £205,762 figure quoted at the end of H1 2016.
From the industry's point of view, it is good to see Persimmon reporting strong reservations through the Autumn and continued strong customer demand. Forward sales are running 12% ahead of 2015 and new business units opened during the year are doing well.
Persimmon says they are currently building on all sites with implementable planning consent. Many of the larger house builders have been criticised for sitting on land banks, but it makes little sense not to build at a time of strong demand, good margins and a favourable political climate.
For a change, the markets have reacted positively to a great set of numbers from a volume house builder.
UK house builder shares took a big hit post-referendum and they have yet to recover all the ground lost in the Brexit aftermath.
Like most of the large house builders in the UK, Persimmon is planning to grow further while there is continuing strong demand for new homes. The chronic shortage of housing stock in the UK together with historically low interest rates, the ready availability of low cost mortgages and continued government support for house buyers means there is plenty of scope for additional production capacity.
The two key factors holding back the house building industry are the speed of the planning process and the availability of skilled workers. The upcoming government white paper might have something to say about the planning process, but solving the skills shortage will be a long term affair.
Throughout the construction industry we're seeing strong competition for staff at all levels, but particularly for senior professionals like quantity surveyors, project managers and programme directors. There is a limited talent pool with the skills and experience required to deliver large scale house building projects and there is strong competition among the main house builders to secure the best people.
At Blayze Group we've seen a strong surge in demand for our search and selection services from large house builders, but equally our Talent Management programmes have been recognised as one of the best ways to help retain and develop good quality senior employees.
What is absolutely clear is that the sector is in robust health and at Blayze Group we're looking forward to a busy 2017 sourcing and delivering the great talent that the industry needs to meet its growth targets.