Barratt hails strong start to year and healthy forward order book

David Thomas

Housebuilder Barratt Developments said it has started the new financial year in a strong position as it declared conditions remained solid with strong buyer demand.

Britain’s largest housebuilder, which has developments across Scotland, moved to shrug off mounting signs of Brexit fears in the property market and said it expects to deliver a “good financial and operating performance” in the 2019 financial year.

In a trading update ahead of its London AGM, the FTSE 100 firm said forward sales, including joint ventures, came to 12,903 units at a value of £3.14 billion on October 14, compared to 12,277 units at a value of £2.8bn a year ago.

The group completed 53 new developments, including joint ventures, in the first 15 weeks of the financial year, down from 62 last year. It had 365 active outlets, including joint ventures, compared to 371 a year ago.

Shares went up 1.2% to 511.4p, in contrast to a 12% drop earlier this month.

David Thomas, Barratt Developments chief executive, said: “The group has started the new financial year in a strong position, with a good sales rate, healthy forward order book and customer demand supported by an attractive lending environment.

“We are focused on delivering our mediumterm targets set out at our full-year results, while maintaining our commitment to leading the industry in the design and quality of our homes and in customer service, which we believe is fundamental to our ongoing success.”

Barratt plans to increase housing volumes by 3-5% per year to help address the UK’s housing shortage.

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