Barratt upbeat on house sales

Housebuilder Barratt Developments said sales had picked up since the start of the year, as it posted losses of £4.6m – down from a £178m loss a year ago as the recession hammered house sales. Barratt said that while the tough mortgage market continued to dampen its trading figures, the firm’s focus on prices rather than volume led to a 5.7 per cent jump in the average house sale to £175,800. The firm also cut its net debt by 11 per cent to £537m and it is forecast to fall further to around £400m by the middle of the year.