Housebuilder Cairn Homes said it closed 743 new home sales during 2020, a decrease on the 1,080 new home sales the previous year. 

In a trading update, Cairn Homes said it generated total revenues of about €260m for the year, a decreased of €435.3m the previous year. This included about €14m from non-core site sales, it added. 

Operating profit for the full year is expected to be about €24.1m, down from €68m in 2019.

"Cairn generated a meaningful operating profit despite the challenges faced in 2020. We also used this year to invest heavily in our future business across construction work in progress, recruitment, health and safety and IT," the company said.

Cairn said its 2020 sales mix was heavily biased towards starter homes which had an average VAT inclusive selling price of €354,000.

Cairn also today announced a new contracted private rental sector (PRS) forward sale of 150 new homes valued at €48.6m to Carysfort Capital and Angelo Gordon. 

The new homes comprise apartments and duplexes at Shackleton Park, Lucan in Co Dublin and will be delivered on a phased basis between the second half of 2021 and the second half of 2022. 

Michael Stanley, co-founder and CEO of Cairn, said the business exited 2020 a stronger and more resilient business. 

"The number of new homes we have completed and our profitability in 2020, allied with our large 2021 order book, are all strong endorsements of our business model, ambition and hard work," Michael Stanley said.

"Our balance sheet and financial strength allowed us to invest heavily in ramping up our output across all of our active sites after the first lockdown in May," he said. 

"This investment is clearly bearing fruit as we have been able to respond to the significant increase in demand from homebuyers evident in the latter part of the year," he added.

Michael Stanley said that Ireland desperately needs well-capitalised construction companies building high quality, competitively priced homes. 

"This needs to happen at significant pace and scale and Cairn will continue to play a lead role once the current public health restrictions ease and our construction sites reopen," he added. 

Shares in the company moved higher in Dublin trade today.