Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders, is striking a surprisingly upbeat tone in its half year results and is so far shrugging off Britain’s vote to leave the European Union with ease.
In an update released on Wednesday, the FTSE 100 company says that despite the vote to leave the EU, trading has so far remained resilient and that there had been no discernible impact from the referendum so far.
Many analysts and market watchers had expected a slowdown in activity in the housing market post-Brexit and a fall in prices. Stockbroker finnCap predicted recently that house prices in Central London could fall by as much as 20%.
But Taylor Wimpey is largely confident about what comes next. Online estate agent Rightmove on Wednesday also said it remains confident about its future, regardless of the referendum.
Here are the key extracts from the Taylor Wimpey’s statement (emphasis ours):
“Whilst it is still too early to assess what long-term impact the EU Referendum result will have on the UK housing market, there has been no meaningful change to date, with trading in the last month at a normal seasonal range with a net private sales rate of 0.65. The net private sales rate for the year to date (w/e 24 July 2016) is 0.77 (2015 equivalent period: 0.78).
“Since 24 June, the early forward confidence indicators amongst homebuyers, together with the continued competitive lending by mortgage providers, have been encouraging and support confidence in the resilience of the UK housing market. We are monitoring both our own internal measures of customer confidence and external data closely.”
While Taylor Wimpey is generally upbeat, it did caution that it cannot predict the future, adding that the longer-term impact of the referendum is uncertain.
The company put its money where its mouth is, confirming that it will pay a special dividend of £300 million, or about £9.20 a share, in July 2017, as well as an interim dividend of 0.53p a share in October this year.
Taylor Wimpey’s results in general were largely positive, with the firm increasing profits and revenues from the same period in 2015. Here are some of the highlights from the half-year report:
- Revenues up 9.1% to £1.46 billion from £1.34 billion in H1 2015;
- Profits up 9.1%. to £279.1 million against 2015’s £255.9 million;
- Operating profit margin unchanged at 19.2%;
- Earnings per share up from 5.8p to 6.6p;
- Total return on net operating assets of 25.2% against 23.2% in the first half of 2015.
Another major property-based firm, Rightmove, also released a broadly positive trading update on Wednesday. Rightmove, the online property portal, said it remains confident about its future regardless of the referendum, and said that it enjoyed a strong start to 2016.
Here are Rightmove’s key figures for the first half of the year:
- Revenues rose 16% to £107.9 million;
- Pre-tax profit improved to £80.6 million from £66.6 million during the same six months in 2015;
- Interim dividend to shareholders increased by 19% to 19p a share.
It is still only one month since the referendum, but Taylor Wimpey’s strong results seem to corroborate the view of analysts at Credit Suisse, who argued in a recent note that Britain’s housebuilders are set to get a boost in the aftermath of Brexit.