HOUSEBUILDER Bellway said today that reservations had increased 6% since the summer, with the Government’s NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme assisting customers’ access to higher value loans.

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In an interim management state for the 18 weeks to Novermber 30, Bellway said overall market conditions had remains largely unchanged.

However, reservations net of cancellations had risen to an average of 100 a week, helped by both the NewBury scheme and an increase in the average number of sites to 213 from 205 during the same period a year ago.

“The board is continuing with its previously outlined strategy of delivering improved shareholder returns through sustainable, organic growth in volume, selling price and operating margin,” the company said.

“A variety of sales incentives continue to be used in order to secure sales with NewBuy accounting for 10% of reservations taken in the period. Conversely, the group continues to restrict the use of shared equity incentives, with these representing only 3% of reservations in the period, compared to 5% in the prior year.”

Bellway, whose current developments include sites in Stowmarket, Great Waldingfield and Colchester, said that the average selling price of reservations, net of sales incentives, had increased by 4% to £195,800, reflecting continuing changes in product mix.

It added that it had now achieved 3,951 sales for the current year, up from 3,748 at the same stage a year go, representing 72% of its current annual target.

Legal completions were expected to increase by around 5% for the six months to January 31, with the operating margin for the period on course to slightly exceed the 12.5% achieved in the second half of the last financial year.

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