Taylor benefits from the Help to Buy scheme

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​Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said Help to Buy loans are proving popular with customers and it completed 42 per cent of private home sales through the scheme in its first half.

The builder, which said the average price of a house in Yorkshire rose from £166,000 to £173,667 during the first half of 2014, said pre-tax profits rose 64 per cent, before exceptional items, to £178.4m in the first half to June 29.

The group has 45 active sites in Yorkshire where it has two offices ​in Wakefield and Stockton-on-Tees. In the year to July it completed nearly 800 sales in the region.

​Ryan Mangold, chief financial officer, said the group expects to see a 10 to 15 per cent increase in sales in Yorkshire over the coming year as the market picks up.

“Our progress is very strong. Help to Buy has helped a huge number of customers to get on the property ladder that couldn’t get on it before,” he said.

Earnings grew to £178.4m as 5,766 home sales were completed across the UK, up 11 per cent on the same period last year.

There was a 10 per cent increase in the average UK selling price to £206,000.

The housebuilder said it will return more money to shareholders after strong demand in the property market and a build-up of its land bank in the first half. It will increase its payout to shareholders by £50m to £250m in 2015.

​Chief ​e​xecutive Pete Redfern said​: “The landbank has grown by about 10,000 plots over the last 12 months, with the biggest element of that over the last six months​.

“With a combination of an improved financial performance in the short term, and the fact that in the first half of 2014 we have got to the level of land that we think is the right strategic level for the business, we feel it’s right to increas​​e our planned cash return for 12 months from now.”

​Analysts at Killik & Co said in a note: ​“The company reported strong first-half results in line with the trading update given at the beginning of June.

Revenue increased 18.2 per cent as 5,766 homes were completed.

“Development activity continues, with a record 7,195 plots moved through planning from the strategic land bank in preparation for development, while 4,336 plots were acquired in the UK short-term land market in quality locations.

“Management commented that there is a better balance in the market now, with price rises being seen outside of London and the South East, and are confident that the strong performance can be maintained in the medium term.”