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Bovis builds a brighter outlook

Bovis Homes put aside two years of weakness in the housing market yesterday, reporting a first-half profit and sounding a note of optimism for the rest of the year.

The housebuilder said that profits in the first six months of the year jumped to £3.5m, up from a loss of £8.6m in the same period last year as the UK economy emerged from recession.

The chief executive David Ritchie also brushed aside worries that Government cuts, set to be outlined in the autumn and designed to close the gaping hole the UK's public finances, would have a marked effect on the housing market.

"We do not yet know where the cuts are going to come from, or how heavy they will be, but consumer confidence has already been hit, so we are already working with the problem," he said.

"When people don't know the facts, they tend to assume the worst. We have seen a remarkable stability of sales rates week on week, clearly people talk about the summer being quieter than the spring, we've seen a bit of that, but each week we appear to get over the line in terms of the number of houses we need to sell." Bovis shares fell 5.6p to 342.8p.