Bellway provides renewed optimism as it launches placing to buy new sites

HOUSEBUILDER Bellway yesterday supported growing confidence in the housing sector by posting a positive trading update and announced a share placing that aims to raise over &pound;40m to buy new land.<br /><br />The group yesterday said it placed 5.7m new shares, equivalent to around five per cent of its current issued capital, at 779p, a small discount to yesterday&rsquo;s share price of 807p.<br /><br />The &pound;44.8m raising is more than enough to pay of Bellway&rsquo;s remaining debts of &pound;37m, but the firm said the cash would be used to make investments in land at the bottom of the market.<br /><br />Bellway reported a &ldquo;stabilisation in demand for new homes, with the southern region stronger than the north.&rdquo; The group yesterday said as a result of the pick-up in activity it was looking to increase its spend on working development sites.<br /><br />&nbsp;During the course of the year, the housebuilder completed the sale of 4,380 homes against 6,556 the year before. The average selling price was around &pound;154,000, down 9.3 per cent from the year before&rsquo;s price.