Bellway this morning reinstated its dividend and upped its selling price expectations for this year as the UK housebuilder reported strong demand for new homes.
The FTSE 250 developer said the full-year average selling price is now forecast to be more than £295,000, up from a previous estimate of £293,054.
It announced it will reinstate its interim dividend at 35p per share after scrapping the shareholder payout last year due to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bellway reported a “robust” forward sales position, with the order book at 14 March 8.4 per cent ahead at £1.64bn, compared to £1.51bn last year.
In the half-year ended 31 January, Bellway’s revenue jumped 11.6 per cent to £1.72bn, up from £1.54bn in 2020.
However profit before tax dropped four per cent, from £291.8m at the half year in 2020, to £280.2m this year.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said the reintroduction of a dividend is “reflective of the company’s improving fortunes”.
“All is not plain sailing, however, and Bellway is mindful of the challenges to come,” he added.
“Margin was hampered by Covid-19 adjustments and some cost inflation, although in the medium term the picture is expected to benefit from the rollout of higher value properties.
“At the same time, while the housing market remains stable, the possibility of rising unemployment and the eventual removal of government-led support schemes will put additional pressure on the sector as a whole in due course.”