Bellway profit rises by 20pc

British housebuilder Bellway said home reservations for the four months to November end were above its expectations, putting it on course for a 20 per cent increase in first-half pre-tax profit.

"The decline in consumer confidence appears to have levelled out and people are still committing to purchase even at this time of year," the company said in a statement.

Bellway's forecast comes two months after it had cut its full-year sales target and echoes rival Berkeley Group Holdings' positive outlook.

Bellway has 3,614 sales secured for this financial year, up nearly four per cent from last year, and 400 sales secured for next year, down a third from the comparable period. Average selling prices rose 8 percent.

The company said full-year results would depend on the level of consumer confidence during the 2011 spring selling season, which in turn hinged on a supply of affordable mortgages.

The dearth of mortgages, which came about as the credit crisis forced a majority of players to withdraw from the market leaving just six lenders, and declining consumer confidence ahead of painful government spending cuts had crippled demand for homes in Britain.