Bellway returns to profit

Published:  24 March, 2010

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE: In marked contrast to merchants, builders continue to report better performance. The latest is house builder Bellway that returned to profit in the half-year.

The companyposted a pre-tax profit of £19m for the six months to 31January, up from a £48.6m loss the previous year when the housing slump meant it suffered large write-downs on the value of its land.

Bellway said it sold 2247 homes in the half year, an increase of 11.6% on a year earlier.

Chairman Howard Dawe said: "Bellway is well placed to benefit from a housing market that should gradually improve over time."

Bellway said that while the market stabilised towards the end of 2009, worries remain about unemployment, mortgage availability, and the outcome of the general election. But the company plans to expand from its current 180 sites to 200 in the coming months, of which 40 are expected to be locations bought since the recession hit.

Bellway said both its northern and southern regions increased their sales output in the half year, with the best performance from the north London division, which sold 283 homes.

Reservations were stable – at around 85 a week – in the period and have increased to around 111 a week between February 1 and March 14, similar to last year.

The group met its initial sales target to repeat last year's output of 4,380 and now expects to add 150 to 200 homes to the target over the full year.

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