UK’s Crest Nicholson cuts profit view again as costs mount

(Reuters) – British homebuilder Crest Nicholson on Monday cut its annual profit forecast for the third time in six months, citing higher costs related to certain legacy sites and an exceptional charge of 13 million pounds on a legal claim.

The company now expects full-year adjusted profit before tax of 41 million pounds ($52.30 million), compared with the 45 million pounds to 50 million pounds range previously expected.

After a tough 2023 amid high inflation and elevated interest rates, Britain’s housing market is set for a boost as home loan rates start to fall back. However, broader economic worries could temper any recovery.

“Although it is too early to gauge customer behaviour, we have been encouraged by an increase in customer interest levels and inquiries this calendar year,” Crest Nicholson said in a statement.

Last week, peers Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey were cautiously optimistic about near-term prospects and tight-lipped on their profit outlook and build targets for this year.

Meanwhile, Vistry struck a more optimistic tone than its sector peers, saying the reduction in mortgage rates in recent weeks would underpin demand in 2024.

($1 = 0.7839 pounds)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng)