Housebuilder Persimmon has reported a profit of £1 billion for the first time, as it faces questions over its Help to Buy practices.

Persimmon said profits were up 13% from £966 million in 2017, adding that interim chief executive Dave Jenkinson would take permanent charge of the company. Jeff Fairburn left the role last year following criticism of his £75m pay package.

Despite the record profit, the company's share price dropped 5% as it faces intense scrutiny over the way it utilises the Help to Buy scheme. Persimmon sold nearly 8,000 homes under the scheme last year. However, over the weekend news outlets reported that a source close to Housing Minister James Brokenshire said that he was becoming "increasingly concerned" by its use of leasehold contracts, its leadership and the quality of construction.

New chief executive Dave Jenkinson said: "Our results for 2018 reflect our successful focus on offering attractively priced new homes primarily to the first-time buyer and first-time mover markets, where housing need is greatest.

"This strategy has enabled Persimmon to grow its construction volumes by more than 75% since 2012, making a significant contribution to UK housing supply.

"My focus is to build on this strong platform, maintaining our operational momentum, but also implementing a number of necessary new initiatives in customer care."

Chairman Roger Devlin said: "Persimmon is changing. In his short time as interim CEO, Dave Jenkinson has introduced new approaches to customer satisfaction and colleague engagement, whilst also ensuring that the group delivered another year of growth."