Housebuilder Barratt Developments has reported an increase in completions in the six months to 31 December, and said the group is well positioned for the second half of the financial year.
Barratt posted a two per cent increase in completions, up to 7,324 compared with 7,180 in the first half of the preceding year. Of that total, 5,715 were private completions, while 1,229 were affordable housing.
The average selling price jumped 6.5 per cent to £281,000 from £263,800.
The company said that given "good demand and (its) healthy forward order book we continue to expect to deliver modest growth in wholly owned completions" in the 2018 financial year.
Net cash at 31 December 2017 was around £165m, down from £196.7m at the same point in 2016, which the firm said reflected its "success in land purchasing", normal seasonal trends, and the payment of £348m in dividends in November. The group proposes to pay a special dividend of £175m for the current financial year in November this year.
"We have delivered a strong performance in the first half, underpinned by our focus on quality, design and industry-leading customer service," said chief executive David Thomas.
"As the UK's largest housebuilder we remain firmly committed to helping address the housing shortage whilst delivering excellent operational and financial performance."
Shares in the group dipped 1.2 per cent in early trading.