Tay­lor Wim­pey cheers ‘solid’ mar­ket

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS -

HOUSEBUILDING GI­ANT Tay­lor Wim­pey has said Bri­tain’s prop­erty mar­ket re­mains “solid” de­spite wider eco­nomic un­cer­tainty.

In a full-year trad­ing up­date, the group re­ported a five per cent rise in com­ple­tions to 14,541 over 2017, while av­er­age prices on pri­vate sales lifted three per cent to £296,000.

Tay­lor, the UK’s third big­gest house­builder, said it saw “good de­mand and trad­ing” through­out 2017 and ex­pects fur­ther growth in the year ahead.

Its bullish re­marks come in spite of mount­ing wor­ries over a hous­ing mar­ket slow­down af­ter a run of re­cent down­beat re­ports.

The lat­est data from mort­gage group Hal­i­fax showed the first monthly de­cline for six months in De­cem­ber as fall­ing wages and Brexit fears weighed.

It said house prices fell 0.6 per cent month-on-month in De­cem­ber, fol­low­ing a 0.3 per cent in­crease in both Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.

Pete Red­fern, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tay­lor, said: “De­spite wider macroe­co­nomic un­cer­tainty, hous­ing mar­ket fun­da­men­tals re­main solid and our trad­ing per­for­mance has been good.”

Tay­lor said last year saw de­mand for new homes helped by the Gov­ern­ment’s on­go­ing Help To Buy scheme for first-time buy­ers, as well as low in­ter­est rates and mort­gage avail­abil­ity.

“Em­ploy­ment trends con­tinue to be healthy and cus­tomer con­fi­dence re­mains ro­bust,” it added.

But shares in the group fell three per cent as it dis­ap­pointed in­vestors hop­ing for a re­peat of Per­sim­mon’s profit up­grade on Tues­day, with Tay­lor say­ing 2017 prof­its would be in line with ex­pec­ta­tions.

Tay­lor said its or­der book fell to £1.63bn as at the end of the year, rep­re­sent­ing 7,136 homes, down from £1.68bn and 7,567 homes a year ear­lier. But it said it had ramped up the pace of pro­duc­tion to meet mar­ket de­mand in the year.

It saw a three per cent to four per cent rise in the cost of builds last year and ex­pects a sim­i­lar hike over 2018 amid “re­sourc­ing pres­sures” in the sec­tor.

Tay­lor Wim­pey was knocked in the first half of 2017 by a lease­hold scan­dal that con­trib­uted to a 23 per cent slump in half-year prof­its. It set aside £130m to help cus­tomers.

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