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Barratt and Redrow report rise in sales

The housing market has shown more signs of stabilising after building giants Barratt Developments and Redrow reported increased sales and a steadying of prices.

Barratt, the UK’s biggest housebuilder, said there was a 11.9 per cent rise in visitor levels in the second half of its year compared with the previous six months.

The firm, based in Coalvile, Leicestershire, also said weekly private sales reservations shot up 18.6 per cent year-on-year.

And Flintshire-based Redrow said a 22 per cent rise in private home sales to 600 indicated that the market had been “relatively stable” over the past six months.

But both said the ongoing drought in the mortgage market still threatened to hold back a sustained recovery in the sector.

Redrow said: “Without doubt this is a major obstacle to the recovery of the housing market and we are of the view that resolving this issue can play a significant role in a recovery of the economy as a whole.”

And both pointed to mortgage valuations as a major obstacle to sales, with Barratt admitting it had to turn away sales after extreme caution over lending by banks meant valuations were coming in too low.

Barratt chief executive Mark Clare noted instances where valuers working for two lenders have given different valuations for the same property on the same site.