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Bovis Homes reports strongest forward order book ‘for many years’

Bovis Homes has reported improving profit margins and a strong forward order book for next year.

In its interim management statement, Bovis Homes said it achieved its targeted private reservations total for 2013 at the end of September, three months ahead of schedule.

The housebuilder secured 2,390 private reservations in the 44 weeks to 1 November, 45 per cent ahead of the 1,650 recorded in the same period in 2012.

It also said its private forward order book at the end of September was already larger than at 1 January 2013.

Bovis Homes chief executive David Ritchie said: “Our strong trading performance has continued through the third quarter and we are confident of achieving our targeted result for the year as whole. Our forward order book is in its best position for many years. 

“With further increases in active sales outlets, supported by ongoing assertive land-buying, the group is confident of its future prospects and ability to deliver significantly improved returns.”

In its half-year results the housebuilder reported group pre-tax profit up 19 per cent at £18.6m, compared with £15.6m in the first six months of last year.

The company expects to deliver around 2,800 legal completions in 2013 and said it was “well placed to achieve this, given the current sales position”.

The average sales price for 2013 legal completions is expected to be at least 10 per cent greater than in 2012.

Combined with improving overhead efficiency, the group’s operating profit margin for 2013 is forecast to climb to 15 per cent, compared with 13.4 per cent in 2012.

The statement said improved access to loans for mortgages and the government’s Help to Buy scheme were “contributing to an already more confident housing market”.

Bovis Homes’ number of active sales outlets increased by 11 per cent in the period compared with last year.

In August, Mr Ritchie told Construction News it was “nonsense” that housebuilders would sit on land to benefit from increasing market prices, rather than build new homes.

Bovis Homes has added around 3,300 plots on 22 sites to the consented landbank in 2013 to date and said a further 1,200 plots on 13 sites were contracted.

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