Taylor Wimpey boosted by order book position

HOUSEBUILDER Taylor Wimpey today said it had started the year in good shape after reporting a 62 per cent annual rise in sale reservations.

The group's UK order book for private house sales stood at 3,048 homes, compared with the 1,887 at the start of 2009. Including affordable housing reservations, the figure was 5,431 homes - up 28 per cent.

Taylor Wimpey described market conditions as stable but warned it continued to be concerned about economic prospects and the impact of reduced mortgage availability.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

It said its operational focus remained on build cost reduction and achieving sale price increases in 2010.

The company completed the sale of 10,186 homes last year, down on the 13,394 reported for 2008. The average selling price fell to 160,000 from 171,000, but the figure was higher than the 153,000 seen at the half year stage.

Taylor Wimpey said: "Our UK business has maintained its encouraging performance since November and we enter 2010 with a very strong order book position."

The group, which also has operations in the United States and Spain, was created from the merger of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey in 2007. It recently signalled the end of its Bryant Homes and George Wimpey brands, with all new outlets in the UK now branded as Taylor Wimpey.

It has spent much of the last year in a battle for survival - leaving its shares at just over 3p at one point - before a refinancing deal in April gave it bank facilities totalling 2.47 billion. A 510 million cash call on shareholders also helped as its debt is now around 750 million, compared with 1.5 billion at the end of 2008.