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Taylor Wimpey order book up 28pc

Order books at Taylor Wimpey are up 28 per cent with debt down by more than 50 per cent since the end of 2008, the house builder announced today.

In a trading update today Taylor Wimpey said the firm enters 2010 with a very strong order book standing at 5,431 homes, up 28 per cent on the end of 2008.

The house builder faced a torrid time last year with its share price plummeting before it secured a refinancing deal with its banks in April 2009 giving it bank facilities totalling £2.47 billion.

Taylor Wimpey has successfully reduced its debt to around £750 million from £1.53 billion at the end of 2008.

Taylor Wimpey described market conditions as stable but warned it continued to be concerned about economic prospects and the impact of reduced mortgage availability.

The company completed the sale of 10,186 homes last year, down on the 13,394 reported for 2008.

The average selling price fell to £160,000 from £171,000, but the figure was higher than the £153,000 seen at the half year stage.

The trading update said: “Market conditions in both the UK and North America during 2009 were better than those experienced during 2008, although they still remained challenging.

“Our UK business has maintained its encouraging performance since our interim management statement in November and we enter 2010 with a very strong order book position, up 28 per cent by volume compared to the end of 2008.

“In North America, we are encouraged by the prolonged period of stability we have experienced since early 2009. The board therefore expects to report full year results in line with its expectations.”

Taylor Wimpey said it is now active in the land market and approved new land purchase commitments for 3,003 plots at 22 new sites during the second half of 2009.

The update added: “Our strong, southerly-weighted landbank and ongoing opportunities to convert further plots from our strategic landbank enable us to continue to be highly selective regarding the opportunities that we pursue.”