Spotlight on property market as a clutch of leading housebuilding firms prepare to publish results

A stock photo of housing in East Anglia. Photo: Denise Bradley

A stock photo of housing in East Anglia. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant � 2006

The state of Britain's property market will return to the fore this week when a clutch of housebuilding giants report.

Full-year figures on Wednesday from Barratt Developments - the UK's biggest housebuilder - are among the highlights, with figures set to confirm another robust year for the sector.

But the focus will be on expectations for the year ahead amid fears that Brexit uncertainty and pressure on household finances may start to hit buyer confidence.

A detailed trading update in July has already set the scene for strong numbers from Barratt, after it said profit is set to come in ahead of market expectations following sales of more expensive homes.

It upped its outlook for full-year pre-tax profit to rise from £682.3 million to around £765 million, above the consensus range of £699 million to £740 million.


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Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the new-build housing industry is in 'Goldilocks territory'.

He added: 'Demand is high, supply is low, Government subsidies are widespread and low interest rates mean mortgages have rarely been as affordable as they are at present. It's difficult to see how market conditions improve from here.'

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Final figures from Redrow on Tuesday and London-focused Berkeley on Wednesday are likely to confirm the sweet spot for the sector.

But troubled Bovis Homes has proved the exception and new boss Greg Fitzgerald is expected to update on his recovery strategy alongside half-year results on Thursday.

The group was thrown into a crisis when problems with sub-standard build quality saw it inundated with customer complaints.

Former boss David Ritchie stepped down in January after eight years in the role, weeks after warning over profits.

Mr Fitzgerald took on the top job in April to lead a recovery after it saw two aborted takeover attempts from rivals Galliford Try and Redrow launched in the wake of its woes.

The Kent-based group saw profits fall 3% to £154.7 million last year and has had to set aside £10.5 million to cover remedial work and compensation for affected customers. It has since announced a raft of improvement measures and slowed the rate at which it builds homes.

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