UK homebuilder Vistry to cut hundreds of jobs - Bloomberg News

(Reuters) -Vistry Group plans to cut around 200 jobs, Bloomberg reported on Friday, months after the British housebuilder's 1.25 billion pounds ($1.50 billion) purchase of rival Countryside and at a time the UK property market battles a downturn.

The UK housing market has slowed markedly in recent months as higher mortgage rates and broader economic concerns drive homebuyers away and falling house prices squeeze margins.

Vistry declined to comment. The London-listed company has become one of the largest UK housebuilders after the Countryside acquisition last year and the deal pushed up its workforce to around 5,000.

Vistry is weighing as many as 19 job cuts in each of its business units, with around 200 job cuts expected, the report said, citing people with knowledge of the plans.

The firm has begun redundancy consultations with affected employees, the report said quoting the people, who provided the information on the condition of anonymity.

Major British housebuilders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have already flagged the persistent slowdown in the housing sector with the duo forecasting a sharp fall in their annual homebuilding targets.

On Thursday, FTSE 100 UK homebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it was cutting jobs.

In September, Vistry agreed to buy Countryside in a highly leveraged deal to bolster its Partnership business, which works with local authorities and housing associations to build affordable homes. The deal was completed in November.

Vistry stock hit an intra-day high of 789.5 pence in afternoon trade on a day the housebuilders' index gained nearly 1% en route to snap two sessions of losses.

($1 = 0.8349 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Anchal Rana in Bengaluru and Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Sharon Singleton and Louise Heavens)