Housebuilder Bellway saw a 9 per cent increase in sales in the spring as consumer confidence improved, the company reported this morning.
The Newcastle-based firm said uncertainties in the autumn had diminished as a more normal reservation pattern returned.
In an interim statement to the Stock Exchange for the period 1 February to 31 May, the group said it achieved a sales rate of 111 units per week across 195 sites – an increase of 9 per cent on the same period last year. The average selling price was £182,000, up 4 per cent compared to last year.
Bellway said the improvement in average house prices was driven by changes in its product mix and a greater contribution from higher-value units in and around London, where demand is strongest.
The company warned constraints to mortgage supply, particularly to first-time buyers, combined with wider economic concerns, posed challenges to the housing market.
But it added that with a strong order book, low gearing and the increasing contribution from sites acquired since the downturn, it was well positioned to deliver growth. The target is to increase unit completions by about five per cent in the year ending 31 July.
Some 1,600 reservations have been taken for completion in 2011/12.
Bellway said it had spent £220m on land and land creditors in the year to date, which saw net debt rise to £57m as at 31 May.
Bellway reported pre-tax profits of £24m in the half year to January 31, up from £19 million a year earlier. The Newcastle-based company was formed in 1946 and now employs about 1,400 people in the UK.