Woodford Investment Management (WIM) has doubled its stake in Crest Nicholson.

According to a stock exchange announcement, WIM increased its position in the housebuilder from 5.21% to 10.34%. The regulator was notified of the transaction on 9 February.

WIM now holds just under 256 million shares in the business and is its biggest shareholder.

The move comes after Surrey-based Crest unveiled its full-year numbers at the end of last month, reporting a 6% rise in profit for the 12 months to 31 October.

'The new build housing market continues to be robust, sustained by strong demand for new homes, a benign land market and government policies to improve access to housing,’ chief executive Stephen Stone said in a statement accompanying the numbers.

Shares Crest dipped by 0.73% yesterday to close at 487.60p.

Woodford bought in housebuilders last April after identifying a yield opportunity in the sector. His confidence in the domestic economy and the belief that cyclical companies exposed to it had been oversold following the Brexit vote was another factor behind the move.

Alongside Crest, he also bought stakes in Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments.

After a tough 2017, Neil Woodford (pictured) has endured more stock problems in the first few weeks of the new year.

This includes Capita, which plunged by as much as 40% at the end of January after it issued after it issued another profit warning and announced a right issue.

In a note following the grim trading update, Woodford admitted he may have bought Capita a bit early, but vowed to stick with the outsourcing giant.

WIM’s flagship LIM Woodford Equity Income fund returned 0.5% last year versus a 10.4% average in the peer group. Over three years the fund has returned 20.5% against a sector average of 26.6%.