Completions outside of London are at the highest level for nine years, offset by lower completions in London, Barratt Developments reported in a trading update.
Profit before tax for the period is expected to be around £315m, c.7% higher than the same period last year (2015: £295.0m).
Total forward sales are up 15.8% on 2015, the housebuilder reported, with wholly-owned forward sales up by 35.2% to £2,167.5m.
David Thomas, Chief Executive said, “Consumer demand is strong benefiting from good mortgage availability and ongoing government support. Our healthy forward order book and this strong demand leaves us on track to deliver on our volume guidance for the full year.
“We remain on track to achieve our target ROCE(4) of 25%, and remain focused on delivery of a 20% gross margin for FY17 notwithstanding that the high-end London market presents some headwinds in this regard.
“We remain committed to our cash return policy and expect to deliver cash returns of c. £1bn of dividends (based on consensus earnings) in the three year period to November 2017. We will comment on our plans beyond this period at our interim results on 22 February 2017.”