- Irish housebuilder reported 1,741 new home sales in 2023, up from 1,526 in 2022
Cairn Homes defied a downbeat mood among housebuilders after delivering record sales in 2023, with the Irish firm predicting another bumper year ahead.
Cairn reported 1,741 new home sales in 2023, up from 1,526 the previous year, generating revenue of €665.0 million (£573million), up from €617.4million in 2022.
The London-listed group’s forward order book for 2024 was valued at €900million and 2,350 homes, nearly triple the forward order book value of €374million at the same time the previous year.
Irish housebuilder Cairn Homes tripled its forward order book value and delivered record sales
It made an operating profit of €113.4 million (£97.7million) over the 12 months, up from €103million in 2022, and improved its operating margin from 16.7 per cent to 17 per cent.
Chief executive Michael Stanley said: ‘Our company is experiencing sustained positive momentum.
‘We are building record numbers of new homes and we have delivered our strongest ever operational and financial performance in 2023.
‘Continued reinvestment in our building platform and a €900million sales pipeline as we start the new year leaves us poised to grow our business by a further 30 per cent in 2024.’
Cairn’s results are in contrast to recent updates from some peers, with Crest Nicholson slashing its profit outlook and Taylor Wimpey warning of market uncertainty.
However, York-based Persimmon built more homes than expected in 2023, while Vistry’s forward sales position was up 12.4 per cent year-on-year to £4.5billion.
Builders suffered a slowdown in demand for homes in 2023 as high mortgage costs put buyers off, while firms have also been hit by a rising cost of materials and wages.
Consequently, last year saw a significant drop in the number of new homes built and sold.
Contracts awarded for construction projects in the UK fell by £11.1billion to £69.2billionn in 2023 after a record prior year, with residential housebuilding deals slumping by 13 per cent, according to industry analysts Barbour ABI.
Easing mortgage rates amid expectations that the Bank of England might cut interest rates sooner than expected and could provide some relief for the housing sector but wider economic challenges including recession fears have dented hopes of a robust recovery.
In the first three months of 2024, Cairn expects to close 500 new homes, and 2,200 for the full-year, and also expects an operating profit of €145million.
Stanley said: ‘More broadly, year-on-year housing supply is growing. Yet, despite essential Government supports, a mere 10 per cent of annual housing transactions are newly built homes purchased by First Time Buyers.
‘Only just over 5,000 young families received keys to new homes in Ireland in the past 12 months.
‘Encouragingly, awareness and take up of the First Home shared equity scheme is improving.
‘However, a significant increase in the supply of new homes is needed, and at sales prices below the caps set by the Government for this crucial support.’
Shares in Cairn Homes were up nearly 4 per cent to 119.2p on Tuesday morning.