Taylor Wimpey cheers ‘solid’ market
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.