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Bellway to raise dividend after profit surge

HOUSEBUILDER Bellway will raise its dividend after reporting healthy first half profits.

The firm, Britain's fifth largest housebuilder by market value, made £19m in the six months to the end of January, compared with a loss of £48.6m in the same period the year before.

It completed sales of 2,247 homes compared with 2,014 – but the average price fell from £156,146 to £155,871.

The Newcastle-based company raised its interim dividend to 3.3p from 3p year ago. It said it spent £76m on land and land creditors in the period.

Chairman Howard Dawe said: "Bellway is well placed to benefit from a housing market that should gradually improve over time."