'Prospects brighter in the east'
THE regional arm of one of the country's leading house-builders yesterday said it was upbeat about its prospects for 2009.Analysts expect Persimmon to release another set of gloomy results tomorrow but the sales director of the company's regional division said things were looking brighter in the east of England, based on the tail end of 2008.
THE regional arm of one of the country's leading house-builders yesterday said it was upbeat about its prospects for 2009.
Analysts expect Persimmon to release another set of gloomy results tomorrow but the sales director of the company's regional division said things were looking brighter in the east of England, based on the tail end of 2008.
Persimmon Homes Anglia, which is based in Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, has had a torrid time recently, and last year it was forced to lay off staff as the downturn hit the housebuilding sector hard.
But Jon Gibbs, sales director of the division, said there had been a dramatic upturn in sales at the tail end of last year compared with 2007.
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It is thought the division failed to sell a single house in the final two months of 2007. In the final two months of 2008, however, it sold about 15 houses.
'In what has been a difficult year for the housing market, our sales in the Anglia region go to show it's not all doom and gloom,' Mr Gibbs said.
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'We have had a successful end to 2008 and we remain positive that this will continue in the new year.'
Despite Persimmon's upbeat outlook in the east of England, the construction industry contracted last month at the fastest pace for more than a decade.
An index based on a survey of purchasing managers at building companies was at 29.3, the lowest since the survey began in April 1997, according to the London-based Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
'The housing sector bore the brunt of the crisis as purchasing managers reported significant reductions in new business,' said Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS.
'Amidst a climate of doom and gloom, firms were forced to axe more jobs in preparation for what is set to be another year of trouble and turmoil.'
Persimmon, Britain's biggest housebuilder, fell out of the FTSE 100 in June as its problems mirrored those across the sector.