Bovis maintains house sales but says market is still tough

 
Marion Dakers
HOUSEBUILDER Bovis said yesterday its sales rate rose 14 per cent in the last four months compared to a year ago, and that it expects to see further growth at the start of 2011.

The group has sold 1,900 homes in the year so far, around 1,600 of which were private homes and the rest social housing. Total sales are slightly above 2009 levels, when Bovis sold 1,800 homes.

However, a reduced number of newly built sites meant Bovis’ sales per site rose 14 per cent to 0.42 homes per week in the period.

Chief executive David Ritchie said during a conference call that the average sale price of £160,000 was ahead of Bovis’ forecasts.

“Market conditions remain challenging, but the group is well placed to expand its operations and we believe the medium term prospects for the group are strong,” Ritchie added. The group held £14m in cash at the end of October, thanks to around £106m of land cash payments throughout 2010.

Bovis swung back into profit during the first half of the year after sales were badly hit during the recession.

Bovis’ shares closed 1.1 per cent higher at 354p yesterday.