Strong house sales put Taylor Wim­pey in line for record prof­its

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Jack Tor­rance and Is­abelle Fraser

TAYLOR Wim­pey shrugged off fears of a slow­ing hous­ing mar­ket yes­ter­day, re­port­ing strong sales amid high de­mand sup­ported by “healthy em­ploy­ment trends”, a com­pet­i­tive mort­gage mar­ket and the Gov­ern­ment’s Help to Buy scheme.

Last week its fel­low house­builder Redrow re­ported a “slight slow­down in sales” due to “on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty”, and es­tate agent group Coun­try­wide warned the hous­ing mar­ket “re­mained chal­leng­ing”.

But Taylor Wim­pey re­ported sales per out­let in the year to date of 0.81 per week, up from 0.75 in the same pe­riod last year, sell­ing around 700 more homes com­pared to this time last year. Pete Red­fern, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said that the com­pany would “prob­a­bly have record prof­its” this year.

He added: “While we are alert to po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic risks, de­mand for new hous­ing re­mains high across the UK and mar­ket con­di­tions are favourable.”

Taylor Wim­pey’s or­der book cur­rently stands at £2.2bn, slightly down from £2.3bn at the same time last year.

The house­builder said it ex­pects to de­liver full-year re­sults in line with ex­pec­ta­tions and to record more growth next year. “With a strong bal­ance sheet in place and a high-qual­ity land bank, our busi­ness is very well po­si­tioned to de­liver sus­tain­able growth,” Mr Red­fern said.

He added that he was hop­ing that in the Bud­get, the Gov­ern­ment would of­fer more guid­ance on longterm pol­icy.

He said: “I will be look­ing for in­vest­ment in af­ford­able hous­ing, and clearer sig­nalling for the pri­vate rented sec­tor,” adding that he hoped for clar­ity on “fu­ture tax treat­ment and leg­isla­tive en­vi­ron­ment”.

Mr Red­fern, who last year led a re­port into the de­cline of home own­er­ship, said: “In a way I’m look­ing for help to the mar­ket, which is less di­rectly rel­e­vant to us.”

In April, Taylor Wim­pey set aside £130m to cover the cost of his­toric leases taken out with a dou­bling ground rent. The com­pany said that it has reached agree­ments with free­hold­ers to al­low “the sub­stan­tial ma­jor­ity” of those af­fected to change their lease to one linked to in­fla­tion.

Bo­vis Homes will up­date in­vestors to­day, with Bar­ratt De­vel­op­ments fol­low­ing to­mor­row.

Shares in Taylor Wim­pey closed down 0.1p at 192.8p.

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