Tay­lor Wim­pey de­fies fears of slow­down in re­gion to record pos­i­tive trad­ing

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - GREG WRIGHT DEPUTY BUSI­NESS ED­I­TOR Email: Twit­ter: @greg­wrightyp

HOUSE­BUILDER TAY­LOR Wim­pey said it had en­joyed pos­i­tive trad­ing in York­shire, as the mar­ket was sup­ported by healthy em­ploy­ment trends and a com­pet­i­tive mort­gage mar­ket.

The com­pany re­vealed that in the year to Oc­to­ber 2017, to­tal home com­ple­tions in York­shire in­creased by 10.7 per cent to 1,506. The com­par­a­tive fig­ure for 2016 was 1,360.

Ryan Man­gold, group fi­nance di­rec­tor, said sales rates in York­shire are “pretty much in line” with the pre­vi­ous year or a frac­tion stronger.

He added: “We are not see­ing any dis­cernible shift away from peo­ple want­ing to get on the hous­ing lad­der.”

Mr Man­gold said hous­ing was a “po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated” is­sue at a lo­cal level. He said Tay­lor Wim­pey sup­ported a na­tional plan­ning pol­icy frame­work and it be­lieves a bal­ance of hous­ing sup­ply is needed to en­sure there are homes for pro­fes­sion­als such as teach­ers, fire­men and po­lice­men.

Tay­lor Wim­pey cur­rently has 43 out­lets in York­shire and the to­tal av­er­age sell­ing price for the pe­riod to Oc­to­ber 2017 in the re­gion was £213,000.

In a trad­ing up­date, the com­pany said it was on track to hit an­nual tar­gets as it shrugged off in­dus­try con­cerns over a mar­ket slow­down.

The FTSE 100 firm said the UK hous­ing mar­ket was “pos­i­tive” in the sec­ond half of 2017 and Cen­tral Lon­don was “sta­ble”, but flagged that it was aware of po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic risks.

The sales rate for the fi­nan­cial year to date was “strong” with net cash ex­pected to reach £500m for the end of the 2017 fi­nan­cial year.

How­ever, or­der books dipped slightly at 8,751 homes and £2.2bn, down from 8,981 and £2.3bn over the same pe­riod last year.

It comes af­ter shares in UK house­builders came un­der pres­sure last week fol­low­ing re­cent gloomy re­ports from ri­vals and in­dus­try data point­ing to slow­ing sales and prices.

Pete Red­fern, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tay­lor Wim­pey, said the firm had “per­formed strongly” in the sec­ond half of 2017.

The Gov­ern­ment’s Help to Buy Scheme and a ro­bust mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion had un­der­pinned de­mand, the firm said, with an­nual re­sults ex­pected to meet ex­pec­ta­tions.

De­spite in­dus­try fears that this month’s in­ter­est rate rise from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent – the first for a decade – could add to Brexit un­cer­tainty to put off buy­ers, Mr Red­fern said the group had con­tin­ued to see “sta­bil­ity in trad­ing pat­terns”.

“Look­ing ahead, we are on track to meet our full year ex­pec­ta­tions and de­liver fur- ther growth and per­for­mance im­prove­ment in 2018,” he added.

The up­beat out­look comes de­spite a sur­vey from the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS) last week show­ing house sale lev­els are flat or fall­ing across large swathes of the UK.

The RICS re­port re­vealed homes are tak­ing longer to sell, as well as a de­clin­ing in­ter­est from buy­ers amid a short­age of new prop­er­ties for sale, while ask­ing prices for top-end homes are also com­ing un­der pres­sure.

An­a­lysts from Nu­mis said: “Tay­lor Wim­pey’s trad­ing up­date con­firms that sales rates and out­let num­bers are in line with ex­pec­ta­tions, which is re­as­sur­ing given the up­dates last week cast some doubts on the strength of the new build sec­tor.

“Over­all, this is a re­as­sur­ing state­ment with re­gard to both mar­ket con­di­tions and out­let num­bers.”

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