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Taylor Wimpey's 2008 order book down 20pc

Taylor Wimpey said its order book was down 20 per cent on the previous year following a drop in buyer confidence in the second half of the year.

In a trading update issued today it reported UK orders worth £1.06 billion on 1 January, compared with £1.32 billion at the start of 2007. It said it expects a “subdued start” to the spring selling season in the UK.

The house building and construction group, formed from the merger of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey, will post profits in line with market expectations.

It said it had increased its margins for the year ending December 2007 to over 14 per cent – two per cent better than the pro forma results achieved in the year before.

Taylor Wimpey said average house prices rose last year from £185,000 to £190,000 but that rise was almost all in the first half of the year.

It said that in its US operations, both completions and house prices had dropped sharply. The firm added that it was taking a cautious approach to its US operations and did not expect conditions to improve in 2008.

Taylor Wimpey will announce its preliminary 2007 results on 6 March.