PRE-TAX profits are up by more than half at one of the New Forest’s biggest independent housebuilders as it recorded record sales figures.
New Milton-based Pennyfarthing Homes grew its headline result to £5.8m in the year to January 2019, according to the group’s annual report published this month.
That was a nearly 58% hike on last year’s pre-tax profits of £3.7m, it said, boosted by turnover rising almost 81% to £38.7m.
The company, which is owned by the Adams family and led by chief executive Mark Adams, sold 91 units over the 12-month period – the most it has ever achieved.
It described its figures overall as a “strong performance”, as 17 new employees joined the workforce which grew to 73.
The report comes as Pennyfarthing highlighted its aim of stepping up to become a medium-sized housebuilder with ambitions to construct larger scale developments.
Recent schemes include 87 homes in Alexandra Meadows in Lymington, and 145 new homes at Augustus Park in Fordingbridge.
Managing director Matt Dukes said: “Alexandra Meadows was our first venture into creating a larger development and it has been a resounding success.
“This and the popularity of Augustus Park has shaped our ambitious plans for future developments including our new site, Potters Wood in Verwood, which is an exciting scheme of 230 new homes, split across two phases and will be our largest site to date.
“We are also extremely excited about the recent land acquired in Christchurch at Steamer Point where we will provide luxury homes and apartments with outstanding views across the sea.”
He added: “Our vision is to be the regional developer of choice that is better in all aspects than our competitors, providing high quality, defect-free homes for the enjoyment of our customers.”
Augustus Park won Residential Development of the Year in the South Coast Property Awards 2019.
Pennyfarthing’s growth has not been without controversy, including a bitter planning battle with objectors in Milford over a 42-home scheme on former green belt land off School lane, which was allowed on appeal.
There is keen local interest in its proposals for the former Coastguard training centre at Steamer Point which includes a four-storey Art Deco block of 17 apartments overlooking Christchurch Bay. A formal application has not yet been submitted to BCP Council.
Potential challenges laid out in the annual report include changes to the planning system, the government-backed Help to Buy scheme offering loans to first-time buyers, and interest rates.
Brexit was also an issue, it added: “The ongoing discussions and the delay in leaving the European Union continues to create uncertainty around securing the best possible outcome for the UK and the potential knock-on effects throughout our industry and the economy as a whole.”
Despite the risk to the supply of skilled labour from the EU, the report said Pennyfarthing’s reliance on workers and materials from the continent was “minimal”.
Last year the company’s annual report warned of a “doomsday” scenario of a no-deal Brexit with soaring interest rates, plunging house prices and stagnant wage growth.