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09 Feb 2021 | 07:32

Bellway posts record first-half completions amid 'robust' demand

(Sharecast News) - Housebuilder Bellway hailed record first-half completions on Tuesday amid "robust" demand. During the half, completions rose 6.3% to 5,656, while "strong" underlying demand saw the private reservation rate rise to 156 per week from 151 in the same period a year ago.

Bellway said housing completions for the full year to 31 July 2021 are now expected to rise to around 9,800 homes from 7,522 a year earlier, while the underlying operating margin is expected to improve by at least 200 basis points.

The housing market remains robust, supported by good affordability, low interest rates and the temporary stamp duty holiday, the company said. It attributed the more pronounced sales rates than at the start of the financial year to pent-up demand arising from the national lockdown in Spring.

"There remains uncertainty in the wider economy, with the ongoing threat of Covid-19 presenting a risk of future disruption to operations and, if employment conditions worsen, customer demand," Bellway said. "In addition, the end of the stamp duty holiday and the changes in the Help-to-Buy rules will make it more difficult for some customers to achieve the necessary deposit requirements to purchase a new home.

"Nevertheless, the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine provides some optimism and there remains an underlying requirement for new homes in the UK, with Government support for the housing market to remain open during the current 'lockdown' restrictions."

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