Persimmon noted the number of completed sales fell by 15% over the course of 2020 in their latest financial results.

Looking to the housebuilders’ full year results, Persimmon saw operating profits of £863m during 2020, 2% above expectations.

It has also revealed the return of the special dividend; the company will pay out a total of £2.35 per share over the course of 2021.

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This will be divided into three instalments, with the first 125p to be paid at the end of March.

Furthermore, the company ended the year with £1.2bn of cash, nearly £400m higher than the pre-pandemic figures.

This is despite the housebuilder paying £350m of dividends in 2020, and spending a further £325m on land.

In relation to these figures, Oliver Creasey, head of property research at Quilter Cheviot, said: “We are particularly impressed that the company was able to generate these returns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since July 2020, build rates were maintained at pre-COVID levels, even throughout the November lockdown.

“Construction across the sector was impacted less than first feared by the pandemic, but we believe that Persimmon fared even better than peers – with completed sales down only 15% year-on-year.

“The business’s outlook is similarly positive, H1’21 volumes to be in-line with H1’19 and with an expected return to FY-19 volumes in 2022.

“While it hasn’t been explicitly mentioned, we would also expect the high dividend pay-outs to continue as well in 2022 and potentially beyond.”