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Northern Ireland housebuilder Hagan Homes sees sales soar by 90% to £16.7m

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland housebuilder Hagan Homes has almost doubled sales to £16.7m as it caters for a surge in demand for new-build homes.

The family company's pre-tax profits more than doubled to £2.14m from £453,663. Its work includes developments such as Scotch Square in Carrickfergus and Henryville in Ballyclare.

In the 2015/16 financial year, annual house completions were up 65% to 191, compared with 115 in 2015.

It was the company's second-busiest year for house completions since it was set up.

In a strategic report accompanying the results for the year ending June 30, 2016, the directors said they were "pleased with the results for the year, with turnover increasing by almost 90%."

"The directors are confident that the housing market will continue to improve over the coming years."

But the company said it has just eight direct employees, relying instead on sub-contractors for its building work.

Managing director Jamesy Hagan, whose father James founded the company with his uncle Nigel in 1988, said: "We are very happy with the results and remain confident for the future.

"The results have been achieved with a very small team, knowledgeable and dedicated staff of eight and a small pool of excellent contractors."

The company has one subsidiary, another residential housebuilder Tolvin Contractors Ltd, also based in Ballyclare.

Last month Hagan Homes announced it would be building 40 new homes in Co Antrim as part of a £4.5m development.

It's building a series of 38 townhouses, detached and semi-detached homes on the Darby Road in Carrickfergus, and is working with contractor Eden Contractors on the scheme.

The firm says the first stage of the scheme will be finished by spring next year, with homes starting at around £115,000.

And in February, the firm announced 35 new homes in Dunmurry, Co Antrim (BT17) in a £4.5m development.

Last year the company finished 24 new homes at Scotch Quarter in Carrickfergus, before selling the entire site to Habinteg Housing Association for £2.3m.

Scotch Quarter had been a ghost estate which was part-built ahead of the recession before work was abandoned due to the slump.

The company has benefited from gradual recovery in the housing market and improved conditions for the building of new homes, particularly greater availability of funding from banks.

But housebuilding figures for 2016 from the National House Building Council (NHBC) showed just a slight increase over the year, compared to a 33% surge in 2015.

There were 3,280 new homes registered in 2016, an increase of just 55 on the year before.

Mr Hagan said earlier this year: "The figures show that it is still a very challenging market."

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph last year, Mr Hagan talked about taking over the firm at the outset of the property crash, when prices fell by up to 60% and demand for new homes fell dramatically. "The world just ended in one way. It happened so quick.

"We adapted and still got things built.

"We cut prices, and we didn't sit and wait for the market to change.

"We went from selling 275 houses a year to selling 90. During that time we had to lay off a lot of staff.

"The hard bit was making them redundant, and a lot had been with us for a long time ... that was the hardest bit."

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