Persimmon, the country's largest housebuilder, built 4,439 homes in the first half, down 5% on the year, which were sold at an average of £162,000. This price represented a 4% decline because of a higher mix of smaller houses. Yet margins edged up to 9% from 8%. The main bugbear for investors is the company's exposure to the North, which could bear the brunt of an economic downturn. Persimmon's valuation is also full, because it has built confidence in recent years and restored its dividend, so there could be better times to buy, says the Times. [6 Jul '11]
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