“Persimmon profits rise 13% after help-to-buy boost”

Owl says; Summary – take care of your donors and they will take care of you.

“The housebuilder Persimmon has reported that its profits rose by 13% in the first half of the year, boosted by the government’s help-to-buy scheme and competitive mortgage deals.

Pretax profits jumped to £516m from £457m in the six months to 30 June, and Persimmon said it expected further growth in the second half of the year, bucking the wider trend of a slowing UK housing market.

“We have continued to experience good levels of customer interest in our housing development sites as we trade through the quieter summer season,” said the Persimmon chief executive, Jeff Fairburn.

“Customers are continuing to benefit from a competitive mortgage market and confidence remains resilient based on healthy employment trends and low interest rates.”

Britiain’s second biggest housebuilder angered shareholders earlier this year after handing Fairburn a £75m bonus. A report published last week by the High Pay Centre revealed Fairburn was the highest paid FTSE 100 boss in 2017, with a £47.1m package.

Persimmon sold 8,072 new homes in the first half of the year, up 4%. The average selling price increased by 1%, to £215,813.

The housebuilder has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s help-to-buy programme, which has lifted sales and supported house prices across the UK. …”


“Persimmon homeowners in Newquay warn would-be buyers with signs”

“A couple living on a new housing estate have put up signs in their windows urging potential buyers not to buy the properties.

Lucy and Guy Sousse moved into the estate in Newquay, Cornwall, a year ago and say Persimmon Homes promised to complete snagging work by last October.
But they say they are still waiting for 90 different faults to be finished.
Persimmon Homes said it was committed to fixing the problems but had not been able to arrange a time for the work. …”


As Owl has reported, obscene bonuses paid to directors and managers has added at least £40,000 to the cost of every Persimmon home:


Persimmon in another rip-off scandal

See what Guardian Money had to say in answer to this query – truly shocking:

“I am about to complete on the purchase of a house on a new Charles Church development in Northiam, East Sussex.

My solicitor has identified an issue which negatively affects the value of seven of the properties. Because a certain form was never submitted to the Land Registry by the developer, each one has an “overage” on its deeds in favour of Charles Church.

This grants the company a proportion of any profit if the property is sold on and will have a huge impact on the resale value. The owners of properties already sold are none the wiser as no other conveyancer had picked up on it.

Charles Church’s solicitor has agreed that, with this overage in place, there is no way I could purchase the property. Nevertheless, Charles Church has given me two days to exchange and complete, or else it will remarket the property.”


“More than 100 managers join Persimmon’s bonus gravy train with a £300m windfall (and, yes, most of them are men)”

Not saying this is the same, but don’t a lot of companies take out money just before they crash …BHS, Carillion …

And is this a proper time?


“A group of 130 bosses at housebuilder Persimmon are set to share a £300 million bonus bonanza in the biggest windfall in the history of the industry.

The unprecedented payout is part of a notorious bonus scheme that is delivering £75 million to the chief executive Jeff Fairburn.

Tomorrow’s payday will hand 130 senior managers an average of £2.3 million each. The handout is the second and largest part of an incentive scheme, that will take the total for managers below the board level to £500 million.

They previously shared in a £200 million payout over Christmas which was overshadowed by the storm over Fairburn’s £50 million. …”


“MP back plan for ombudsman to resolve new homes disputes”

“The government is under pressure to set up an independent ombudsman with the power to order housebuilders to pay out up to £50,000 or even reverse a sale, following reports of new-home buyers lumbered with defective properties.

A group of MPs and peers has called on the government to make it mandatory for housebuilders to belong to the proposed scheme, which would be free for consumers and offer a quick resolution to disputes. The scheme would be funded by a levy on housebuilders, with larger ones such as Berkeley Group, Persimmon, Barratt, Galliford Try, Redrow and Bovis Homes, paying more than small and medium-sized firms.

A report, Better Redress for Home Buyers, by the all-party parliamentary group for excellence in the built environment, highlights the confusing landscape buyers face when trying to resolve building defects, not helped by a plethora of warranties, housebuilding codes and complaints procedures.

It says the proposed ombudsman should be able to order payouts of up to £50,000 so buyers are not left out of pocket. Disputes over larger sums might have to be settled in court, but the report adds: “In certain extreme situations the new homes ombudsman should be able to reverse the sale.”

People have no idea that when they buy a new home directly from the developer, they have no access to redress.

The recommendations come after a scandal over the poor quality of new homes built by Bovis, while other housebuilders have also faced similar complaints.

A recent survey by the Home Builders Federation and the main warranty provider, NHBC, showed that 98% of new-home buyers reported snags or bigger defects to their housebuilder after moving in.

The parliamentarians have proposed a snagging app that would enable buyers to photograph defects and send them to the builder, monitor the progress of complaints and go to the ombudsman if needed.

Dominic Raab, the housing minister, said this week that the “vice-like grip” of the big developers must be broken to boost the building of affordable homes.

Lord Best, vice-chair of the all-party group, says: “Buying a new home is stressful enough, but buying a defective one, as we heard from witnesses, can take a toll on people’s wellbeing as they wrestle with a Kafkaesque system seemingly designed to be unhelpful.”

The proposed scheme would be modelled on the property ombudsman, to which all estate agents must belong. If they are struck off, they can no longer trade.

Katrine Sporle, the property ombudsman, says: “New homes should be covered by an ombudsman. People have no idea that when they buy a new home directly from the developer, they have no access to redress.”

The proposed scheme would cover the first two years following a house purchase when housebuilders are liable for defects, while subsequent problems would be down to the warranty providers.

The report says: “Affected homebuyers are exasperated not so much by the existence of defects but by a builder’s failure or even refusal to put them right. Submissions we received described how buying a new home had been ‘the worst decision of their life’; how it was like ‘going through hell’ as the complaint passed between housebuilders and warranty providers; and how fighting for redress was taking a toll on their health.”

The proposals have been presented to the ministry of housing, communities and local government as part of its consultation on a single housing ombudsman.”


New Facebook page: AvoidPersimmonHomes

A new Facebook page called “AvoidPersimmonHomes” has been overwhelmed with stories and pictures of homes which occupants are finding impossible to live in. At the time of writing it has 269 members.


This follows on from a similar page for Bovis homes which has 3,113 members

“Persimmon pay panel chief unable to tell MPs firm’s average pay”

“Persimmon’s executive pay row was reignited on Wednesday after the head of the housebuilder’s remuneration committee said she did not know how much the average worker was paid by the firm.

MPs on the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee were stunned by the admission from Marion Sears, who was giving evidence after Persimmon angered shareholders earlier in the year by handing its chief executive Jeff Fairburn a £75m bonus.

“The average … I don’t have that figure to my finger tips,” Sears told MPs, when asked by the committee chair, Rachel Reeves, what average pay was.

“You’re chair of the remuneration committee at Persimmon aren’t you? And you don’t know what average pay is, as chair of the remuneration committee?” asked an incredulous Reeves.

After the meeting had concluded, the Labour MP tweeted that Sears’ lack of knowledge was a disgrace.

She added in a statement: “Executive pay at Persimmon is a tale of corporate greed and incompetent pay management, financed on the back of a tax-payer funded housing scheme [help to buy].

“Persimmon paid out huge bonuses to the men at the top of the firm and yet this morning we have heard that Persimmon are unable to tell us how much average workers at the company are paid.”

A spokesman for the firm later confirmed the average salary at the firm is £35,600.

During the bruising session, Sears also appeared confused about the sum Fairburn received last year, at first answering “£675,000”. Prompted by Reeves to give the total pay figure, she said it was “about £45m”. The total figure shown in the 2017 annual report and accounts was £47.1m.

When asked by Reeves whether or not Persimmon was a living wage employer, Sears said yes, but then went on to clarify that the FTSE 100 firm was not accredited by the living wage foundation. …”