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Crest puts confidence in 'stable' housing market

Crest Nicholson is confident that it will continue to capitalise on a fundamentally stable housing market despite a less active spring selling season and the effect on buyers of the May General Election.
Turnover increased by 11 per cent to £315.3 million in the six months to April 30, 2005 up from £283 million in the same six months of 2004. Pre-tax profits were up 6 per cent to £38 million from £36 million.

The buoyant market it experienced in January and February has now been replaced by more steady and consistent levels of demand with housing turnover up 5 per cent to £238.9 million from £226.8 million, the company said. The falloff in demand it experienced in the run up to the General Election has yet to be fully restored.

Crest increased open market housing completions by 12 per cent during the period to 830 units from 743 last time. Affordable units slipped 18 per cent to 256 from 312. It said volume increases will be difficult to achieve until buyer confidence is restored.

Commercial sales rocketed by 16 per cent to £43.5 million up from £37.5 million at the same stage in 2004, reaping the rewards of a number of contracts it picked up in 2004 including Bristol Harbourside, Park Central in Birmingham and Riverside in Hemel Hempstead.

Crest Nicholson chief executive John Callcutt said: 'We expect the housing market to continue to be challenging in the short term. However, the quality of our land bank, combined with the strength of our affordable and mixed-use commercial businesses, gives us confidence that we will make further progress in 2005.'

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