Barratt back in the black

City A.M. Reporter
Housebuilder Barratt Developments returned to profit for the full-year, helped by higher selling prices, and said it expected to make further progress despite the constrained housing market.

The country's largest housebuilder by volume reported full-year profit before tax and exceptional items of £42.7m, at the higher end of market estimates, compared with a loss of £33m in 2010.

Barratt was expected to post a pre-tax profit of between £26.71m and £42m, with a consensus of £38.8m, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 15 analysts.

The group boosted profits thanks to a strong second-half in London trading, where average selling prices of private homes are higher, as well as focussing more on family homes as opposed to flats. Its private average selling price was up 7.4 per cent for the year to 198,900 pounds.

"We have made considerable progress in rebuilding profitability - by optimising selling prices, improving operational efficiency and securing new higher margin land," Chief Executive Mark Clare said in a statement.

Barratt said that while the housing market remained constrained by restricted mortgage financing, average net private reservations for the first 11 weeks of the current financial year were up 10.2 per cent to 183 per week.