House builder Persimmon has announced a 20% rise in sales for the year to date, with a value of £1.15bn, in comparison to the same period in 2009.
In a trading statement, Persimmon said: "We are opening new developments in line with our planned investment programme while closely monitoring working capital levels across the business.
"We are currently operating from c. 375 sites having opened 50 new sites through the first quarter of the year in line with our expectations. We have a further 40 sites which we currently intend to start during the second quarter. These new site openings will provide us with the opportunity to secure some further price improvement and maintain sales momentum.
"Against this background of trading we are carefully selecting land opportunities for investment. Whilst we continue to apply strict criteria to land purchases, we have recently acquired some excellent sites including some from our strategic land portfolio upon which we have now received residential planning consents. This new land will generate higher margins as development commences during the next 12 months."
At the end of March, Persimmon's net borrowings had fallen to £265m (31 March 2009: £680m). Is debt levels were expected to reduce further as the year progressed.
"We continue to focus on minimising build costs and on the strict control of overhead costs," the statement concluded.
"With margin improvement underway, cash generation remaining robust, and our high quality consented and strategic landbanks, we are in a strong position in the UK housing market to deliver profitable growth."