Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Barratt's social housing sales drop

A leading house builder has recorded a sharp drop in sales of social housing properties in 2012.

In an interim management statement released today, Barratt Developments revealed a 39 per cent fall in the value of forward sales of its social homes, bringing in just £178.1 million so far in 2012 compared to £292.2 million in the same period last year.

Barratt sold 1,806 social housing plots, down from 2,842 in 2011.

A Barratt spokesperson said: ‘We don’t see this as an indication of a fall in the wider social housing market. We think it’s due to fluctuations in site coming forward.’

He added that, although Barratt had seen the proportion of completions in its social housing business drop over the past 12 months from 22 per cent to 18 per cent, this was broadly in line with the company’s long-run average of around 20 per cent completions in this area.

In the same statement, covering the period from 1 July to 11 November 2012, the group chief executive reiterated a strategy of focusing on higher margin land.

In the private sector, it recorded a 21 per cent increase in sales, up to £768.5 million from £634.5 million in 2011, with the number of plots rising from 3,137 to 3,514.

‘We have traded well over the period,’ said chief executive Mark Clare. ‘Our strategy of securing higher margin land and bringing it into production as quickly as possible is delivering. The group is on track to report a significant improvement in profitability for both the half and full year.’

The group also reported increasing interest generated by the government’s newbuy mortgage guarantee scheme. In England, 9 per cent of its private reservations came through newbuy.

Although, the statement called for ‘a step change in mortgage lending’ to help push an increase in the number of homes being built.

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