Grainger plc report robust sales across first quarter

The Newcastle-based residential landlords saw a rise in average sale prices in the four months to January 31

george@georgebrooks.net Andrew Cunningham, chief executive of Grainger Plc
Andrew Cunningham, chief executive of Grainger Plc

Residential property firm Grainger plc saw a 3.9% uplift in average sales prices in the four months to the end of January.

Newcastle-headquartered Grainger – the UK’s largest listed residential property owner and manager – reported sales of £102.3m during the period.

The figure was down from £104m in the corresponding period of 2014.

Following news this week that Grainger acquired a regional tenanted residential property portfolio for £58m from Sarunas Properties Limited, the firm’s chief executive, Andrew Cunningham, described trading conditions as “positive”.

He added: “While home buyers have become more sensitive to pricing in recent months, the price points of our properties continue to generate strong interest and sell at levels above their vacant possession value in London and the South East, as well as the other UK regions where we operate. Rental demand for new lets and renewals remains strong.

“As we indicated previously, we anticipate that the UK General Election and the uncertainty surrounding it will likely lead to a softer transactional market for home sales during the election period. In addition, we note recent global economic concerns spurred by various factors including the continued uncertainty in the Eurozone.

“Nonetheless, there are a number of factors that continue to provide positive upward pressure over the medium term for the UK housing market, including the low interest rate environment, improving real wages, changes to the stamp duty regime and the continued supply-demand imbalance.

“We continue to actively pursue a number of investment opportunities, particularly focused on market rented assets and build to rent.”

Andrew Cunningham, chief executive of Grainger plc
Andrew Cunningham, chief executive of Grainger plc

The firm said it continued to experience strong levels of rental demand as year-to-date increases in rents averaged 6.3% on new lets.

Some £85m of residential assets – roughly 1,000 units – were acquired since the start of the year. These units were predominantly located in the regions.

Grainger also reported that incoming chairman, Ian Coull, has taken medical advice which will lead him to delay moving into post. Instead, former Chair of the London 2012 Olympic Park Legacy Company, Baroness Margaret Form and a senior independent director at Grainger, has been appointed as interim chairman for three months.

After that time Mr Coull is expected to take up the chairmanship.

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