Barratt hails good start to year; volume growth seen at lower end of target
Barratt Developments said on Wednesday that the new financial year has started well, with good demand for new homes, and that it continues to expect to grow volumes towards the lower end of its medium-term target.
In an update on trading for the 15 weeks to 13 October ahead of its annual meeting, the housebuilder said its sales rate in the period was 0.72 net private reservations per active outlet per average week, in line with the same period a year ago, although the prior period included two bespoke design and build arrangements.
Completions rose 14% to 3,252 and total forward sales were "strong", comprising 12,963 homes versus 12,903 at 14 October 2018. However, the value of forward sales fell to £3.07bn from £3.15bn the year before.
Based on current market conditions, Barratt continues to expect to grow volumes towards the lower end of its medium-term target range of 3% to 5% this year. The housing market fundamentals remain attractive, with a long term undersupply of new homes, strong government support to the sector and a positive lending environment, it said.
Chief executive David Thomas said: "We have started our new financial year well, with a good sales rate and a healthy forward order book. As the only major housebuilder to be awarded a 5 Star rating for customer satisfaction for ten years in a row, we continue to lead the industry in quality and customer service.
"Whilst there is economic and political uncertainty, we continue to be disciplined and have a strong balance sheet and cash position which we believe provide us with the resilience and flexibility to react to potential changes in the operating environment in FY20 and beyond. We maintain our focus on the delivery of operational improvements across our business, and our commitment to deliver the highest quality homes across the country."