Vistry says that it has seen strong demand across all areas of the business, with sales running way ahead of pre-Covid levels.
The average weekly private sales rate is 0.75 so far in 2021, up 21% on 2019 (2020: 0.44, 2019: 0.62).
The house-building division is on track to deliver a 40% step-up in completions in 2021 to around 6,500 units (2020: 4,652), ahead of previous expectations, and an improvement in gross margin.
In a trading update ahead of today’s annual general meeting, the company added that group month-end average net debt is running at less than £150m, firmly below the previous target of less than £200m.
The company now expects adjusted profit before tax for 2021 to be around £325m, rather than the £310m previously indicated.
Targets for 2022 also remain on course, with 3,230 house-building plots secured across 13 developments totalling £145m in the year to date – 94% of land required for forecast 2022 completions are now secured. The Partnerships business has secured 1,177 plots on five sites for mixed tenure development, and now has 98% of land required for forecast 2022 mixed-tenure completions secured.
Chief executive Greg Fitzgerald said: “It has been a very positive start to the year with strong demand across all areas of our business and our private sales rate increasing to 0.75. As we approach the end of our first half, we anticipate results for the six months will be well ahead of our previous expectations. Vistry Housebuilding is firmly on track to deliver a significant step up in completions in FY21 and remains firmly focused on driving profitability to deliver the expected improvement in gross margin. Vistry Partnerships holds an exciting and unique market position and has a clear growth strategy. The business is making excellent progress towards its targets of increasing revenues from £728m last year to £1bn in FY22 accompanied by operating margin improvement to at least 10%.”