Barratt’s boost for housing sector

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Barratt Developments provided further cheer from the housebuilding sector yesterday after the group forecast a sharp jump in full-year profits.

The firm, which recently announced its best spring selling season for five years, said builders were benefiting from “relative market stability” despite wider woes in the mortgage market and economy.

Barratt is expecting pre-tax profits to surge by around 158 per cent to £110m in the year to June 30.

Private forward sales were up 34.6 per cent by value, at £378.4m at the end of June, while completions rose 14 per cent to 12,637 in the year. Mark Clare, group chief executive, said: “This year has seen a rapidly improving performance across the group.

“We expect to make further good progress in the year ahead thanks to a strong forward order book, with private forward sales up 35 per cent and more higher return land coming into production.”

The update comes after fellow builder Bovis Homes reported an 18 per cent jump in first half completions earlier this week, and said it was on course for a “significant” hike in profits.

The industry is being assisted by government initiatives to boost the sector, which are helping compensate for a shortage in affordable mortgages.

Barratt said it expects the NewBuy scheme – designed to encourage the return of 95 per cent mortgages to stimulate demand – to continue to provide the industry with support.

The group has been benefiting from higher sales prices as it builds more family homes in London and the south east.