Housing developer expands in Yorkshire

Lovell is working on several schemes in YorkshireLovell is working on several schemes in Yorkshire
Lovell is working on several schemes in Yorkshire
Housing developer Lovell reported strong profits in its first half and said the forward order book in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Humberside now exceeds £60m.

The Leeds-based developer said it has signed new contracts with housing association partners to create both affordable and open market homes.

Lovell's parent company construction firm​ Morgan Sindall ​reported a 47 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £24m in the six months to June 30.

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The group's chief executive, John Morgan, said Lovell has a bright future ahead of it.

"We are building more houses for local authorities to rent," he said.

"It's a big driver of growth for the group. There's a huge need for affordable housing. A lot of cities need to house people who can drive the trains. In a lot of cities the housing is too poor.

"Yorkshire is a key area for us. We work in the chimney pot areas like Doncaster and Wakefield, not in the home counties or London."

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Lovell is working on two schemes worth a total of £3m for Clarion Housing Group which will create 24 much-needed, affordable, rented homes in east Leeds, at sites in Seacroft and near Halton.

It is also working on a £3.6m development of 33 affordable rented homes for Leeds Federated Housing Association in Belle Isle, south Leeds.

Other projects include a £9.3m development of 68 new family homes in Ings, east Hull. Lovell has just started work on the scheme which is the latest phase of a major regeneration programme by developer Compendium Living – a joint venture company set up by Lovell and The Riverside Group – in partnership with Hull City Council.

It is also working on a £3.6m scheme to create 43 homes for Lovell’s sister company Muse Developments in Doncaster. The scheme is the second phase of the 97-home Waterdale development.

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Analyst Andrew Nussey at Peel Hunt said: "Morgan Sindall's dividend has been raised 23 per cent, reflecting management confidence.

"The stand out performance remains Fit Out, but we would also highlight the momentum across the other key divisions.

"Average daily net cash (£132m) remains a key sector differentiator and maximises flexibility. The outlook remains confident supported by the growing order book."

Mr Morgan said: "We have a very strong balance sheet and a very strong order book."