Bellway claims housing market is back to normal and forecasts 10pc growth

Marion Dakers
HOUSEBUILDER Bellway said yesterday it remains on track to increase production by 10 per cent this year, while reassuring investors that the housing market has returned to more normal conditions.

The FTSE 250-listed company said it completed the sale of 4,595 homes in the year to 31 July, a rise of five per cent on last year.

“In the calendar year 2010 to date, the market would appear to have returned to its more usual profile of a spring peak followed by a quieter summer period,” the firm said in the update.

Chief financial officer Alistair Leitch said yesterday: “The early warning systems of cutting prices to sell and of cancellation rates rising, are not happening.” He added that the World Cup and warm weather had dented sales, though the underlying marketplace remains on course.

The firm currently has an order book of £421m, up 14 per cent on last year, while reservations of new homes rose slightly to 89 per week. Cancellations have returned to previous levels of 13 per cent.

The average selling price was £163,000, from £154,005 last year.

William Jones at RBS said in a note: “It looks one of the better value of less risky stocks, relative to Redrow and Bovis. Much of the FY11 result will rely on the Autumn selling season showing a pick-up from the return to quieter, seasonal trading that has shaped the summer months so far.”

Shares closed 2.4 per cent up at 629p yesterday.