Persimmon reports new homes market upturn

Persimmon has reported signs of recovery in the new homes market.

The homebuilder said new sales reservations for the first three months of the year were up 12% on a year ago.

After a soft start to the year, the firm said its order book of £1.14bn had caught up with the level of a year ago.

Persimmon reaffirmed its plan to complete the same number of homes this year as in 2010, with the bulk in the second half. The firm said it was focusing on building pricier homes.

It comes after the homebuilder revealed earlier in the year an almost doubling of its pre-tax profits in 2010, thanks to a 10% increase in revenues for the year.

Persimmon's chairman of the last five years, John White, retires after the company's annual general meeting on Wednesday.

He has been with the firm for 32 years, becoming chief executive in 1993