Bellway pledge to build more homes as it sells record number of properties

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Bellway said it would build up to 10 per cent more homes this year after it sold a record 7,752 properties in the 12 months to end-July, helping pre-tax profit rise 44 per cent.

The housebuilder said the strength of the market in Britain – underpinned by low mortgage rates and a shortage of supply of properties – was reflected in its order book, which stood at 4,363 homes at the start of its new financial year.

Chief executive Ted Ayres said reservations in the last nine weeks were up 16 per cent on a year ago, in part because the company had more properties available.

“It’s been a very good start in the first nine weeks, and it gives us confidence we can do volume growth of around 10 per cent this year,” he said.

The firm added: “There remain constraints regarding the availability of certain labour trades, with these pressures continuing to be most pronounced in and around the south east of the country.

“Notwithstanding this, the rate of increase in subcontract costs has reached a more modest level.”

“Bellway remains our preferred housebuilder as its valuation is compelling and it is well placed to deliver volume growth as the biggest builders slow volume growth in exchange for cash returns and the smaller builders continue to struggle for finance,” said analysts at Liberum, who rate the stock a “buy”.

Bellway, which posted pre-tax profit of £354.2m, raised its total dividend for the year by almost half to 77 pence a share.