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Taylor Wimpey sees subdued market

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey today said it expected 'subdued'conditions in the property market to continue into the New Year.

The group, which sells homes under the brands George Wimpey, Bryant Homes, G2, Wilson Connolly and Laing Homes, reported that it had seen reductions in both visitor numbers and reservation levels.

But Taylor Wimpey said prices remained stable and that long-term supply constraints were likely to provide support to the market.

Confidence among homebuyers has been hit by turbulence in financial markets and the impact of five rises in interest rates since August of last year.

In a trading update issued this morning the company said: "In the UK we anticipate
that market conditions will remain subdued into the New Year."

Taylor Wimpey said its focus in the UK had been on boosting its margins, rather than looking to drive volume growth. Completions for the year are expected to be 5 per cent lower than a year earlier, but the group said it was confident of delivering an operating margin of 14 per cent for the period.

The firm sayu: "Conditions are expected to remain extremely challenging for the balance of this year and throughout 2008.''