Suffolk/Essex: Housebuilder Bellway on track to beat profit forecasts

HOUSEBUILDER Bellway said today that its annual profits would come in slightly ahead of current market expectations following a 6.2% increase in completed sales.

In a pre-close statement ahead of its results for the 12 months to July 31, Bellway said it had completed 5,226 sales, against 4,922 the previous year, with an average selling price of around �187,000, also representing an increase of more than 6%.

Pre-tax profit would be “modestly ahead” of the current consensus forecast of �98million, it added.

“The demand for new homes has remained resilient throughout the year and this, combined with investment in new site openings, has resulted in the group securing an average of 101 reservations per week, an improvement of almost 9% on the previous financial year,” said Bellway.

“The enhanced reservation rate has been achieved with no overall increase in average sales incentives, whilst simultaneously restricting the use of shared equity schemes to less than 7% of reservations taken.” The group said that the Government’s NewBuy scheme, which offers a guarantee for lenders providing 95% mortgages on newly-built homes, had supported 133 reservations since its launch in March this year.

Bellway, whose current developments include sites in Stowmarket and Great Waldingfield in Suffolk and Colchester and Tiptree in Essex, also revealed today that its chairman, Howard Dawe, who has been with the company since 1961, is to retire on January 31 next year.

Chief executive John Watson will take over as chairman, with his current role going to Ted Ayres, who is currently operations director.