Bovis hails record house building progress

Bovis Homes Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Bovis Homes Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Housebuilder Bovis built a record number of homes last year, adding that this year has got off to a 'robust start'.

Kent-based Bovis reported a 69% rise in pre-tax profits to £133.5 million in the year to end of December after it saw completions jump 29% to 3,635 homes.

It added that it had secured 479 private reservations in the first seven weeks of this year, up 2.4% on a year ago, with sale prices also ahead by 2% year on year.

The group, which concentrates on family housing in the South East, said sales were boosted by the Government's Help to Buy scheme in the first half of last year, but new rules on mortgage availability resulted in a weaker second half.

It added that its average 2014 selling price rose 11% to £216,600.

It said: 'The strong sales position brought forward from 2014 combined with robust trading in the first seven weeks of 2015 has positioned the group well for 2015.'

The FTSE 250 firm said it would lift its full-year dividend to 35p, an increase of 159%. It added that it intends to pay a dividend of at least 35p a share in 2015.

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Chief executive David Ritchie said the firm would follow its plan for growth laid out at its half year results last August.

He said: 'This plan envisages the business, in a stable housing market, delivering sustainable growth over the next few years to annual volumes of between 5,000 and 6,000 new homes.

'We are on track to deliver this strategic plan, supported by record land investment in 2014 at the right point in the cycle.'

The group said last year it added 7,300 plots on 42 sites to the consented land bank at a cost of £340 million as it acquired land, primarily in the South East.

However, brokers at Jefferies said 'we are mindful of the fact that the land market will not remain benign forever.'