Builder set to double in size after good trading

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Upmarket homebuilder CALA Group reported strong trading in the six months to the end of January and said it is on track to more than double the size of the business by 2017.

The group said that following a prolonged period of mixed trading conditions, the housing market showed real signs of improvement in 2013 which have continued into 2014.

CALA reported an increase in private reservations ahead of management’s expectations. It said it had little direct assistance from the Government’s Help to Buy scheme given the group’s premium market positioning.

Sales prices rose by five per cent to an average selling price of £361,000.

The group said that its positive trading performance during the first half gives it confidence it will report a strong, year-on-year improvement in its financial results for the full year to June 2014.

The group announced the launch of two new regional divisions to complement its existing operations.

These will cover the North Home Counties, covering Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and London Boroughs, and the Southern Home Counties, which includes North Kent, West Sussex, East Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and South London Boroughs.

Duncan Jackson, previously the managing director of York-based Persimmon’s Essex business, has been appointed regional managing director responsible for the North Home Counties division while the appointment of a regional managing director for the Southern Home Counties is expected later in the year.

Alan Brown, chief executive of CALA Group, said: “After delivering record profits for CALA Homes during 2013, we are now investing significantly in new staff and top quality sites in desirable locations, in order to expand our regional footprint and firmly establish the CALA brand in new, high growth markets.

“With a strengthened housing market and improving consumer confidence, our strategy during the first half of 2014 will be focused on increasing market share within the South East of England.”