It sold 4006 homes in the six months to 30 June, a fall of 27% compared with the same period in 2008. It generated revenues of about £625million, compared with £998million in June 2008.
Some 45 new developments opened in the first half of 2009 and Persimmon plans to start work on a further 50 sites in the second half of the year.
It said historically low levels of cancellation were another sign of an improved housing market.
"We are encouraged by the improvement in sales rates when compared to last year, but will remain cautious until mortgage availability improves further and employment prospects stabilise," Persimmon said in a statement.
Persimmon shares rose more than 4% on the news in morning trading.
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