Barratt has strong first half

Barratt Developments expects pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of December to be around £315m, about 7% higher than a year ago.

The group says overall market conditions are healthy with strong demand in the period for new homes.

Highlights:

- Sales rate of 0.68 (2015: 0.66) net private reservations per active outlet per week - Completions outside of London are at the highest level for nine years, offset by lower completions in London primarily reflecting the planned HY1/HY2 build programme on wholly owned sites, resulting in total completions for the period (including joint ventures ('JVs')) of 7,180 (2015: 7,626)

- Strong half year end net cash(2) position, at around £195m, an increase of £170.8m on 31 December 2015 (£24.2m)

- Total forward sales (including JVs) are up 15.8% against a strong prior year comparative at £2,336.6m (2015: £2,017.8m), with wholly owned forward sales up by 35.2% to £2,167.5m (2015: £1,603.0m)

Chief executive David Thomas said: "This has been another good half year for the Group. Consumer demand is strong benefiting from good mortgage availability and ongoing government support. Our healthy forward order book and this strong demand leaves us on track to deliver on our volume guidance for the full year. "Barratt's continued commitment to quality design, build and excellence in market‐leading customer service is reflected in our strong performance and ensures we remain a housebuilder of choice. Our focus remains on maintaining good operational and financial performance, and delivering attractive shareholder returns. The fundamentals of the market are robust."