Bellway posted a profit before tax of £560.7 million, a 12.6% rise on the year ended 31 July 2016. Housing revenue increased by 13.9% to £2,510.9 million, driven principally by the number of housing completions rising by 10.6%.
The housebuilder said that the Help to Buy scheme continued to be an important selling tool, used widely across the Group in 35% of completions, up from 30% in 2016. In London, where the maximum equity loan percentage can be up to 40% of the property value, Help to Buy was used in 32% of completions.
“Demand for new housing remained strong across the country, with the Group taking an average of 187 reservations per week, an increase of 10.7%,” said Jason Honeyman, Chief Operating Officer of Bellway. “Site visitor numbers were ahead of the prior year and website traffic continued to rise.”
Growth in output in the construction sector and the wider industry skills shortage continued to place upward pressure on sub-contractor costs, particularly for trades such as bricklayers and scaffolders, the Group said in a trading statement.
“The availability of building materials is generally good, however, there are often localised incidences of under supply of certain products, such as roof tiles and particular facing bricks,” said Honeyman.
“The parameters supporting growth are strong as there continues to be an imbalance between the supply and demand for high quality new homes,” said John Watson, Executive Chairman. “Interest rates are low, with the Bank of England base rate reducing to 0.25% at the start of the year, ensuring that financing a new home remains affordable. The availability of sustainable mortgage finance is also good, supported by a responsible lending environment and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.”