County helps lead the way as builder Barratt’s profits double

HOUSEBUILDER Barratt Developments has more than doubled annual profits, helped by Government moves to boost the housing market.

Barratt said pre-tax profits leapt 159 per cent to £110.7m in the year to June 30, beating expectations.

The surge in profits was helped by the group’s move towards building on cheaper land, a focus on containing costs and an increase in volumes, with 12,637 completions compared with 11,078 the year before.

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Barratt said that its Yorkshire developments have produced good results.

Over the year the group built 972 homes in Yorkshire and the region produced net revenues of £152m.

The group is currently building on 20 sites across Yorkshire with 12 sites being marketed as Barratt Homes and eight as David Wilson Homes.

Prices range from £74,995 for a one-bedroom Barratt Homes Troydale apartment at The Oaks in Leeds New Forest Village to £1.25m for a six-bedroom David Wilson Homes Maple home at The Glade in Menston.

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Among its strong selling sites are The Oaks, which has 280 units, where prices range from £74,995 to £238,995

Royal Gardens, a David Wilson Homes development in Pudsey with 144 units, was launched in May 2010. The development, which reported 11 sales in the last six weeks, has prices ranging from £229,995 to £319,995.

The group said that Cricketers View in Scholes, a David Wilson Homes development with 42 units, has received over 600 expressions of interest ahead of its opening next month. Prices start from £180,000 for a three-bedroom property

Barratt expects more than half of its 2012/13 completions to be delivered from recently-acquired, higher-margin land.

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While the number of house purchases has been hit by a reduction in risky lending by banks, prices have been supported by a shortage of new homes and Government schemes, such as its NewBuy project to provide financial help for first-time buyers.

Last week, the Government also unveiled reforms to ease planning laws and boost construction.

Barratt’s corporate affairs director Patrick Law said: “First Buy has certainly helped. 90 to 95 per cent mortgages are once again available.

“The fundamental issue facing the housing market has been the fall in mortgage lending. There is 50 per cent less finance available than in 2007/8.”

Barratt said it will pay a “conservative” full-year dividend after its results next year. It last paid a dividend in February 2008.