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Redrow and Bovis jobs go

Hundreds more housebuilding job cuts were announced today as Bovis Homes and Redrow became the latest to outline efforts to combat the property slump.

The builders are axing 40 per cent of their workforces and closing offices to cope with plunging house sales.

Bovis said it expects around 400 of its staff will have lost their jobs since the start of the year. It is also closing its eastern regional office. The firm said today that the cost saving measures will take place from the end of this month.

Only yesterday fellow house builder Persimmon announced that 1,100 full-time staff had been cut since January, while last week Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments together revealed around 2,000 job losses.

Redrow announced 350 job losses today but expects around 550 staff to go in total. The firm expects to have a definitive figure by its preliminary results which are due out in September.

Redrow said it will be left with around total headcount of 850 following the job cuts.

The group is also shutting two of its 10 offices, in Warrington and Basingstoke.

Bovis said it was closing its eastern regional office, while merging key functions of its northern and central regions.

Bovis, with headquarters in Kent, said sales plummeted by 32 per cent in the six months to June 30 and repeated a warning that half-year profits will be hit by the decline in trading.

The group said average selling prices across private and social housing had dropped from £189,600 in the first six months of 2007 to £167,500 in the first half of 2008.

Bovis hopes the job losses announced today and other cost-saving measures will cut overheads by a fifth, although it will also take a one-off £2 million charge.

Flintshire-based Redrow said sales of new homes had fallen by 19 per cent in the year to the end of June as it said it was battling against "an unprecedented decline in the fortunes of the UK housing market".

Group forward sales as at the end of June have also nearly halved from 2,148 this time last year to 1,189, according to the group.

The firm added that it expects to take a "significant" hit on the value of land and work in progress due to sharp property price falls.