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Bellway: recovery was just a seasonal blip

Bellway chief executive John Watson has played down signs of recovery in the housebuilding sector, describing them as “a seasonal blip”.

Bellway joined the rest of the sector in reporting a pick up since Christmas after doubling its sales in the last 11 weeks, compared with the previous 11 weeks.

But Mr Watson said: “I am a cup half empty man. Everybody is getting a bit excited about the period since Christmas, but I think it is a seasonal blip.

“I cannot see it being a case of flicking a switch and everything returning to 2007 levels again.”

Bellway was sitting on £98.2 million of cash at the end of the six months to 31 January, and bosses are focusing on sales to generate more cash.

The Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based housebuilder is expecting to build just 2,000 new homes this year compared to 6,300 last year.

Mr Watson said: “We are in hibernation mode.”

Bellway’s half year results revealed a pre-tax loss of £48.6 million after £66.3 million of writedowns.

Mr Watson said he soon hoped to start buying land again once he was confident the bottom of the market had been met.

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