LONDON (Reuters) - Housebuilder Barratt Developments
Following a painful few years triggered by the housing market collapse, Britain's housebuilders have bounced back on government efforts to help Britons purchase homes, which has stoked sentiment and driven transactions over the past year.
"We are very well placed for 2014 and beyond. We believe that on the back of that, and the stronger market, we really have the confidence that we will continue to drive up returns and deliver a stronger second half," Chief Executive Mark Clare told Reuters on Tuesday.
Barratt said total forward sales, excluding joint ventures, over the six months to end-December jumped to 1.27 billion pounds ($2.08 billion), from 742.1 million pounds, equating to 7,007 plots. Forward sales are home sales that have been reserved with deposits.
It increased total home completions over the period by 19 percent to match the surge in demand, seen in net private reservations per active site rising 36.7 percent over the period. Clare said that the company was using 15 percent more labour to deliver that higher number of homes.
"The company is in an exceptionally strong position as this stage of the year," said Panmure Gordon analyst Mark Hughes who has a 'buy' rating on the stock. "In our opinion full year forecasts are underpinned."
Analysts expect Barratt to post pretax profits of between 323-359 million pounds on revenues of 2.82-2.98 billion pounds, a Thomson Reuters survey showed.
Separately, Countrywide Holdings
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Kate Holton)