Northern housebuilder sees record trading

Avants Sheafdale Grange development in Sheffield
Avants Sheafdale Grange development in Sheffield
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Northern housebuilder Avant Homes reported an "excellent​"​ first half performance and record trading in August and September with no discernible Brexit impact​.

The group, which formerly ​traded as ​Ben Bailey Homes in Yorkshire and the Midlands​, is calling for UK housing policy to encompass the entire country, not just the South East​.

​​Colin Lewis, ​c​hief ​e​xecutive of Avant Homes​,​ said​: "We are a Northern housebuilder and a key ambition is to be the housebuilder of choice in the North. We are saying to the Government: Whatever support you give home buyers, share it equably across the whole UK market."

​He was speaking as the group announced a 43 per cent leap in half year revenue to £160m, driven by strong growth in completions and ​a 16 per cent increase in selling prices to £246,000.

​In the six months to October 31, the group​ achieved 721 total completions, up 27 per cent on the prior year when it completed on 568 homes.

​The group has a strong land supply pipeline with 25 new sites in ​what it described as ​premium locations​, which are expected to deliver over 3,100 homes​.​

Avant’s owned, contracted and strategic land supply pipeline now stands at over 10,400 plots, of which, 5,400 are controlled with an implementable planning consent.

​After the vote to leave the EU on June 23, the group saw two or three weeks of uncertainty.

"We saw chains collapsing. The bank of Mum and Dad pulled up its shutters," said Mr Lewis.

"Then the Great British public said we are going to get on with our lives​."

​The group has pulled out of the South East to focus on the North.

"We are focused on areas where we are strong and that includes Yorkshire," said Mr Lewis.

​"Our homes are aspirational at prices people can afford."

Talking about its Yorkshire sites, the group said ​it would like to see more land released in Sheffield, which it described as a vibrant city with strong demand for new housing.

​"We ​know Sheffield is a strong market for us. We are also seeing high activity in Leeds and there is great demand in Harrogate and York, where we'd always like more land," said Mr Lewis.