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Countryside hunts for PRS sites in Midlands expansion

Countryside Properties is on the hunt for sites in the West Midlands as part of its drive to expand further into the private rented sector.

The company is working in partnership with PRS developer Sigma to identify suitable sites for development in the area and will open an office in Wolverhampton by the end of the year.

The group, which floated on the stock market in February, reported a major boost in its private rental sector offering in its half-year results to 31 March 2016. It also reported an increase in completions, profit and revenue over the period.

Revenue rose by 24 per cent to £286.2m, compared with £223.0m for the same period the year before, while operating profit grew by 29 per cent to £34.8m, up from £26.9m.

Completions increased by 15 per cent to 1,095, with the company maintaining its medium-term target of reaching 3,600 completions by 2018.

Sales increased by 43 per cent year on year, primarily driven by activity in the North of England.

Forward sales were up 4 per cent to £205.3m, up from £196.7m for the same period the year before.

The group said the “modest” year-on-year growth rate was due to increased forward selling ahead of last year’s general election.

Countryside is split into two divisions: housebuilding, and its partnerships division, which includes its PRS activity.

The group maintained its land bank of 26,000 plots, with its housebuilding division adding a further 234 plots across six sites over the period.

Completions rose by 25 per cent to 292 units in the group’s housebuilding division, while revenue stood at £174m, up from £126m the year before.

Operating profit for the division grew by 46 per cent year on year to £27.7m, up from £19m.

The housebuilder’s partnerships division saw completions rise by 12 per cent to 803 units, while revenue grew by 10 per cent year on year to £138.8m, up from £126.2m.

Crest Nicholson Results

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson reported a 7 per cent year-on-year increase in completions to 1,206 for the six months to 30 April 2016.

The firm said it was on track to reach its annual revenue target of £1bn, as the number of forward sales grew by 10 per cent.

It also saw a sales boost from the PRS sector, primarily from schemes at Faygate, near Gatwick and at Park Central in Birmingham.


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