Bellway sees muted house price rises

City A.M. Reporter
Bellway said the autumn pick up in house sales had been muted, leading the housebuilder to cut its full-year sales target as uncertainty around the government’s spending review crimps confidence.

The housebuilder, which posted full-year results in line with expectations, is the first housebuilder to comment on the traditionally active autumn selling period. A stagnant housing market will add to the gloom of the coalition government’s austerity measures, with spending cuts to be announced tomorrow.

“The first two months of this trading year, it’s picked up, but not quite to the extent we that we hoped,” said chief executive John Watson.

He added that subdued activity so far this year has caused the builder to abandon its target of raising sales volumes by 10 per cent this year.

Still, Bellway’s total order book is currently at £397m, roughly 13 per cent ahead of last year.

Selling prices and margins are up, with the average selling price rising to £163,175 compared with £154,005 last year, while margins will continue to be driven up by cheaper land, the Newcastle-based firm said. Bellway, reported a pre-tax profit of £44.4m in the 12 months to end July compared with £29.8m