UK housebuilders lifted by a rise in profits as market improves

BRITISH housebuilders Barratt and Bovis Homes both said they expected to report a rise in profit after a pick-up in sales, although activity will remain limited by tight mortgage availability.

Barratt Developments, Britain’s largest housebuilder by volume, said yesterday sales rates returned to normal levels from 1 January to 8 May, with private selling prices up four per cent, driven by a move to houses from apartments.

Smaller rival Bovis, which also posted a trading update, said the market had remained stable, with visitor numbers up 20 per cent and sales rates up marginally.

Barratt said it was comfortable with market estimates of around £130m for full-year operating profit, compared with the £90m it posted for 2009-10.

“We are encouraged by the improvement in market conditions we've seen since the start of 2011” said Mark Clare?(right), group chief executive of Barratt.

Bovis also said it expected its profit to increase in 2011 due to a 15 per cent increase in site numbers and better prices.

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