Wednesday 5 February 2020 8:58 am

Housebuilder Barratt’s half-year profit boosted by strong sales

Barratt Developments has reported a rise in pre-tax profit for the first-half as the UK’s biggest housebuilder sold more homes at lower prices. 

Barratt, which sold its highest number of homes in 12 years in the six months to 31 December, said this morning that profit before tax rose 3.7 per cent to £423m.

“We have achieved a strong first half performance, delivering continued volume growth and making good progress against our medium term targets,” said chief executive David Thomas. 

The number of new builds completed by Barratt increased 9.1 per cent in the first half, while average selling prices fell 0.9 per cent. 

The housebuilder announced a further extension to its capital return programme, pledging to pay shareholders special returns of £175m in November 2020 and November 2021, in addition to ordinary dividend cover at 2.5 times. 

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“We have made a good start to our second half and with substantial net cash, a well-capitalised balance sheet and strong forward sales, the outlook for the full year is in line with our expectations,” said Thomas. 

Revenue during the first half increased 6.3 per cent to £2.3bn, while basic earnings per share climbed 3.4 per cent to 33.8p.

Barratt said there had been “good customer demand” for its homes during the period, which was “supported by a stable market backdrop”.

Shares in the company rose as much as 3.31 per cent in morning trading following the update.