ONE of the key players in the retirement development sector has posted record revenues despite a year of “political upheaval and economic uncertainty”.

Churchill Retirement Living says it has maintained its status as “the UK’s most profitable and successful retirement housing operator”.

Revenue for the group was up almost 11 per cent to a record £208.6million, while pre-tax profit stood at £55.2m – up 6.8 per cent on last year.

The number of properties sold rose by 12 per cent to 584, while the average selling price of an apartment rose 0.5 per cent to £314,000.

Spencer McCarthy, chairman and chief executive of the Ringwood-headquartered company, said: “The group has delivered a strong financial performance during another tough year of political upheaval and economic uncertainty, both in the UK and globally.

“As in the previous year, our strong financial position, disciplined approach towards land buying and sales, and experienced management team enabled us to stick to our principles and achieve excellent progress in a difficult market, maintaining our position as the UK’s most profitable and successful retirement housing operator.”

He added: “The UK’s political and economic backdrop has been uncertain for three years now, ever since the country voted to Leave the EU, and this will continue to impact both demand and supply for the foreseeable future. As the year ahead progresses, we hope to see a more supportive and stable political and regulatory environment that will give us the confidence to invest in our future growth.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on the market and monitor the impact of the various potential Brexit scenarios. The risks associated with a ‘no deal’ Brexit are well documented, and will continue to impact on consumer confidence, especially for Churchill Retirement Living’s Customers, who tend to be asset rich but cash poor, and more inclined to take a cautious view.

“Unlike first time buyers, there is no government incentive for the ‘last time buyer’ to downsize, so the financial, practical and emotional barriers to a move can often be harder to overcome.”

Churchill’s average build cost rose by 3.2 per cent to £111,000, which the company said reflected a tight focus on standard design and cost control.

It bought 13 new sites – enough for around 563 new plots to replace the stock it had sold.

Mr McCarthy said that with an ageing population, and demand outpacing supply, the “underlying long-term growth drivers” for the business “remain strong”.

“The group enters the new financial year in a positive position thanks to the experience of our team, our sensible approach to land buying, and our clear focus and understanding of what our customers need,” he said.

Spencer McCarthy and brother Clinton set up Churchill Retirement Living after working for their father in the business that still bears their family name, McCarthy & Stone.

The brothers and their father John regularly feature on the Sunday Times Rich List, which this year estimated their fortune at £650m.

The McCarthys were the 29th biggest political donors on the list, having given £62,500 to the Conservative Party last year and £50,000 so far this year.