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Persimmon sees 'balanced' property market

Recent interest rate rises have balanced out the UK's housing market, construction firm Persimmon says.The Bank of England has raised the base rate three times so far this year to its current rate of 5.5 per cent in a bid to curb upward inflationary pressures across the whole economy.With average house prices continuing to rise, albeit at a slightly slower rate recently, Persimmon says the hikes have not had a negative effect thanks to strong demand in the property market."Recent interest rate rises have had the desired effect and the housing market is stable with only moderate price growth," Persimmon said in a trading statement today."Employment prospects and customer confidence remain good, and as a result the market has continued to be resilient. In the absence of any major change to the UK economy we expect this situation to continue."Persimmon reported its first-half operating profit of 20.5 per cent was a moderate improvement on last year's 19.9 per cent, saying the market "has continued to operate in a similar way to 2006".It said it had completed around 8,000 units and was on track to deliver "growth in line with… expectations" during the second half of the year.Shares in Persimmon rose by over one per cent on early morning trading.

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