Hallam Land had a very strong start to the year, successfully completing six residential land sales before the EU referendum vote and exchanging on a further three sites which will complete in the second half of the year, including a six acre parcel of employment land in the Midlands. These sales were the key driver behind the Henry Boot Group’s strong financial performance in the half year under review.
At 30 June 2016 Hallam held interests in 11,416 acres (December 2015: 11,061 acres), 1,740 acres owned, 2,606 acres under option and 7,070 under planning promotion agreements.
It was pleasing to see 4,175 residential plots secure planning consent/minded to grant planning consent, during the period. At 30 June 2016, we have 15,183 consented residential plots available for sale (December 2015: 12,043 plots) across 47 sites, with a further 9,500 plots, the subject of planning applications in progress, across 18 sites.
The EU referendum vote on 23 June 2016 saw the UK house builders review land acquisition activity pending clarity on the housing market demand. Some two months on we have seen some land buying confidence return, with appetite for smaller scheme sizes with longer payment deferrals but at broadly maintained pricing levels. We expect these market conditions to continue until the implications of the referendum vote, with regard to the UK housing market, become clearer.
The first half of the year was not only pleasing from a profit perspective; cash to be collected in the second half will provide the resources to make additional land purchases over coming months, especially if the economy softens, further replenishing our freehold stock as well as acquiring additional option and promotion agreements. With the majority of the sales for 2016 now contracted, we are looking ahead to completions in 2017 where we already have two sites at an advanced stage and are, post the referendum, in contract negotiations on a further six.