Belfast Telegraph

Strong year for Barratt amid 'strong consumer demand'

Barratt Developments has said profit is set to come in ahead of market expectations after benefiting from sales of more expensive homes.

The UK's biggest housebuilder expects full-year pre-tax profit to rise from £682.3 million to around £765 million, above the consensus range of £699 million to £740 million.

Barratt's average selling price for its homes in the year to June 30 increased by 5.9% to £275,000 and total completions came in at 17,395, up marginally compared to 2016 and the highest level in nine years.

However, the firm also said it slowed the rate of its land purchases, which was down from £1.1 billion to £957.2 million, which "reflects our caution immediately following the EU referendum".

Boss David Thomas said: "It has been another very strong year for the group both operationally and financially.

"We have delivered our highest number of completions for nine years, more than any other housebuilder, and continue to see a positive mortgage environment and strong consumer demand."

Barratt added its total forward sales are valued at £2.1 billion, equating to 9,762 plots.

Shares in Barratt rose 1.5% to 593.5p in morning trading.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: " Reports of the demise of the housebuilding sector in the wake of Brexit were greatly exaggerated.

"Put simply, Barratt Developments is selling more houses at higher prices, and that's good for profits and shareholders.

"Of course, there are still potential banana skins.

"Brexit is a multi-year process and the housing market may not yet have witnessed the full impact of the decision to leave the EU.

"Indeed house price growth is slowing, which may be a sign of things to come."

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