Barratt Developments announced this morning that it intends to resume shareholder payouts next month as it reported a surge in new home sales due to pent-up demand following the first nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.
The FTSE 100 housebuilder said it had delivered an “excellent first half performance” but warned that sales rates had become more subdued towards the end of the six-month period.
It confirmed that it will announce a dividend payment when it publishes its interim results on 4 February following a strong first half.
Barratt delivered 9,077 home completions during the six months to 31 December, up 9.2 per cent on last year’s figure of 8,314.
The firm’s total average selling price increased 1.1 per cent to £283,000, up from £279,800, and total forward sales jumped 14.3 per cent to 13,588 homes.
The surge in house sales was sparked by pent-up demand that built when the sector was closed in the first UK lockdown in March.
Sales were also buoyed by the introduction of the stamp duty holiday and the impending end of Help to Buy.
Barratt said its construction sites are able to remain open during the latest lockdown, and sales offices are open on an appointment basis in England and Scotland but are closed in Wales.
Barratt chief executive David Thomas said: “Throughout the pandemic, our teams have worked hard to make our operations Covid-secure and our first priority continues to be keeping our employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers safe.
“I’d like to thank our people for their efforts in helping us to rebuild completion volumes, drive further operational improvements and deliver on our commitment to build the highest quality homes across the country.
“Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, we are confident that our operating performance and strong financial position provide us with the resilience and flexibility to respond to the operating environment in FY21 and beyond.”