Bellway profits jump as it hikes dividend

 
Kasmira Jefford
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HOUSEBUILDER Bellway said yesterday that a strong performance in the south of England and an uptick in sales of private homes helped boost full-year profits.

Shares in the FTSE 250 firm closed up 3.2 per cent after it posted a 57 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to £105.3m for the year to 31 July, prompting it to hike its final dividend by 59 per cent to 14p per share.

Like its peers, Bellway has benefitted from buying cheap land after the country’s property market collapsed around 2007.

Chief executive John Watson said it aims to continue with this strategy of buying up land at lower prices but he warned that lack of availability meant less homes were being built.

“We’ve got to keep an eye on what’s going on in Europe, and we’ve got to keep an eye, more importantly, on unemployment levels,” said Watson.

Bellway’s order book rose by three per cent to £441.2m and reservations since the end of July have remained in line with expectations.

The average home selling price jumped 6.3 per cent to £186,648, the highest Bellway has ever achieved.