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Bellway order book up over 30pc in first half of year

Bellway today said forward orders from customers were up 30 per cent, as it revealed it sold 2,247 houses in the first six months of its financial year.

In the six months to 31 of January, the average selling price of each home was steady at around £156,000.

Bellway said its order book at 31 January 2010 stood at £390 million compared to £296m in 2009, a rise of over 30 per cent.

It has now sold or reserved houses worth 92 per cent of its 2010 target and may increase this target as the spring selling season gets into full swing.

In a relatively upbeat statement bosses said that margins, which were 6 per cent in the first half should rise closer to 7 per cent for the full year.

Bellway said: “The Group has a strong balance sheet with a net cash position of £61m which was helped by a significant reduction in our stock of unsold properties compared to last year.”

So far this year it has spent £76m on new land and is in negotiations to spend a further £123m. Most of the land bought is in the South of England, which is where the big property builders are focussing their attention.

One note of caution was raised when bosses said: “With mortgage providers continuing to require a high level of deposit, particularly for first time buyers, we expect trading conditions during the first half of 2010 to be subdued relative to historic levels.”