Economy

Bellway soars to record first-half earnings on rising sales

Bellway soars to record first-half earnings on rising sales

The FTSE 250 housebuilder posted revenue of GBP1.15 billion for the six months ended January 31, up 5.9% from GBP1.08 billion the same period a year earlier, after it sold 4,462 homes at an average selling price of GBP256,100, compared to the 4,188 homes sold for GBP257,300 sold the prior year.

Bellway said this morning that Help to Buy has been boosting new build home sales but that house price growth has "moderated.particularly in London".

It added that its reservation rate had increased by 6.4% to 166 sales per week, up from 156 sales per week in the previous year.

"The board therefore expects that the strengthened order book, together with the significant investment in work in progress, should now enable Bellway to achieve volume growth of at least 5 per cent for the full year".

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Chief executive Ted Ayres said the planning environment remained positive, with an increasing number of plots granted planning permission by local authorities and many also now identifying larger sites to achieve their required housing supply in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework.

However, the firm said that the cost of employing workers was rising in the sector but that it was well-placed to deal with the trend, which some builders fear could be exacerbated by any immigration curbs imposed as part of Brexit.

Bellway hoisted its interim dividend 10% as the housebuilder enjoyed continued strong demand in the first half and maintained its targets for the full year as the second half got off to a strong start to the spring selling season.

The operating margin improved from 21.4% to 22.0%.

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In a note to clients, analysts at Liberum Capital pointed out: "Bellway's H1 PBT grew by 10%, consistent with the statement given in February".

At time of writing, Bellway's share price was up 0.5 per cent.

In early trading, Bellway shares were up 2.5%, or 70.0p at 2,898p.

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