WHETHER you deem Barratt a good buy depends on whether you are a bull or a bear on the housing market next year.
For the bulls, there are plenty of positives: net debt has fallen £910m to £367m since last year, forward sales are up 22 per cent to £847m and crucially operating margin has surged to 4.4 per cent from 1.5 per cent.
Despite this the shares are trading at just half Barratt’s net asset value, lower than all their UK peers, and pricing in a significant house price fall. Admittedly, while sale prices have gone up – 17.8 per cent in the past six months – this is because Barratt is currently building more houses than flats to reflect shifting demand, rather than prices rising.
But its landbank is short – just five-and-a-half years, meaning it can trade out of difficult conditions relatively quickly. It also has good exposure in London – where prices are holding up well.
It’s a high risk buy, but currently Barratt looks oversold.