Barratt has reported that it expects to deliver “significantly improved” profits, in an interim management statement that saw a decline in social housing offset by private gains.
The housebuilder reported stable underlying selling prices, and a 2.1 increase in forward sales to £946.6m, up from £926.7m in 2012.
However, social forward sales fell from 2,842 in 2011 to 1,806 in 2012 – a reduction of 36.5%, excluding joint ventures.
This represented a fall in value of 39 per cent, from £292.2m in the previous year to £178.1m.
The social decline was offset by an increase in private forward sales, up 21.1 per cent from £634.5m to £768.5m.
NewBuy mortgages have increased during the Autumn selling season for Barratt, who said nine per cent of private reservations over the period were supported by the indemnity scheme.
Barratt says it holds £226.8m in higher margin land acquired after the downturn, across 29 sites approved in the period – an increase from 23 in the previous year.
Half of full-year completions were from the newer land, while net private reservations per week per site improved slightly to 0.54, up from 0.53.
The company also said debt reduction remains a key objective, and that further changes in the product mix were expected to deliver growth in the private average selling price.
Group chief executive Mark Clare said: “We have traded well over the period. Our strategy of securing higher margin land and bringing it into production as quickly as possible is delivering. The group is on track to report a significant improvement in profitability for both the half and fully year.”
Earlier this week, Taylor Wimpey issued an interim statement for the period from 2 July 2012 to November, saying it is trading in line with expectations and has a £1.11bn completions order book (6 November 2011: £1.02 billion).
Sales rates in the second half of 2012 were flat on 2011. It expects net debt at the end of 2012 to be in line with the prior year, at £116.9 million.
The house builder also reported 467 net reservations under NewBuy, including 137 completions and 132 exchanged contracts. It also completed 1,179 homes under FirstBuy.
Taylor Wimpey approved the purchase of 3,436 new plots on 33 new sites since the half year.