Bovis Homes is targeting expansion in the Midlands and Thames Valley regions after recording record pre-tax profit and turnover in its latest results.
The housebuilder posted a pre-tax profit of £160.1m for the year to 31 December 2015, up 20 per cent year on year, while revenue hit a record £946.5m, up from £809.4m over the same period.
Speaking to Construction News, chief executive David Ritchie said the firm was in “growth mode” and is planning further expansion, especially in the Midlands and the South.
The firm bought 35 sites in 2015, and Mr Ritchie said Bovis would aim to continue expansion at a similar rate during 2016 and 2017.
“Our ambition is to buy around 40 sites this year and next year, with the aim of having around 150 sites open for business at any one time,” he said.
Bovis has also restructured its business to capitalise on increasing sales in the Midlands. The two Midlands regions (East and West) have split from the group’s existing Central region, while the newly formed Thames Valley region is aiming to deliver its first homes this year.
Mr Ritchie said the group was aiming to deliver between 10 and 15 sites per year through its Thames Valley business. He added that Bovis had “a large strategic pipeline of sites coming through in the South of England”.
New strategic land investments for the group added 3,827 plots to its landbank in 2015, leaving a total of 23,083 plots across 80 sites, with 68 per cent of these plots in the South of England.
The group has secured, or is in the final stages of securing, planning consent on eight major sites: Bexhill, Bishop’s Stortford, Edwalton, Gravesend, North Whiteley, Taunton, Tavistock and Witney.
However, Mr Ritchie said he still had “frustrations” over the planning system, especially in relation to detailed planning approvals.
“We’ve had frustrations getting sites through the detailed planning process, getting through procurement and getting building on site,” he said.
“There are things being discussed that would help smooth that process, some of it around how we get planning conditions satisfied.”
“In principle we can’t start a site unless we have all the pre-commencement conditions actually ticked off by the local authority, and I know there are discussions around whether private consultancies could come in and aid local authority planning departments to review those planning conditions and sign off on satisfaction – that could only be a good thing,” he added.
With its new regional structure, the group now has the capacity to deliver between 5,000 and 6,000 homes per year. In the year to 31 December 2015, the group delivered an 8 per cent increase in legal completions, which rose to 3,934, up from 3,635 a year earlier.
Average sales price increased by 7 per cent to £231,600, up from £216,600 a year earlier.