Countryside unnerves investors with warning over cautious house buyers

The boss of property developer Countryside played down concerns about the company’s prospects after a warning of weaker confidence among some home buyers knocked a tenth off its market value.

In an otherwise upbeat full-year trading update the FTSE 250 company said it had seen signs of “a more subdued tone” among so-called discretionary buyers – those who already own a home – after a slowdown in the second-hand market.

While most of its private home sales are to first-time buyers and the company also has a large affordable housing division that sells to local councils, the warning came as a red flag to investors, who sent its shares down as much as 11% in morning trade.

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