Persimmon shrugged off fears of a slowdown in the housing market as it predicted improved first-half margins following its takeover of Westbury last year. Daily Telegraph. Financial Times

Mike Farley, Persimmon chief executive, also said he was unfazed by the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation into the industry, announced last week.

Britain's biggest housebuilder said that total sales in the first half were £1.5bn and forward-sales for the second half of the year were likely to reach £950m, up from £882m last year.

In a statement released to the stock exchange, it said: 'We have a strong forward order book, an increasing number of outlets coming on stream, an excellent land bank including significant strategic land holdings, and an experienced and focused management team.'