Bovis Homes banks on more of the same from the Budget

 

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The Independent Online

The housebuilder Bovis Homes predicted the Chancellor would continue his support for first-time buyers in Wednesday's Budget as it reported record sales for the first half of the year.

Sales rose 3 per cent to a new high of 1,525 in the six months to June and the company expects full-year sales to top 3,500. A shift towards building more family homes and also towards targeting the South of England helped to put the average selling price up 10 per cent to £264,000.

The Chancellor has already committed to extend the first part of the Help to Buy scheme – offering loans for deposits – until 2020, and the Government also cut stamp duty bills for the vast majority of buyers in December. Other moves include the release of public sector land for housebuilding in an attempt to alleviate a crippling housing shortage.

Bovis Homes’ chief executive David Ritchie said: “From a housing perspective, we’re looking for nothing radical. We would like ongoing support for the Help to Buy product, and for the existing regime that we now have in the planning environment.

“Two really vital things for us as a business are a ready supply of consented land over the medium term and the ability of people to draw a mortgage to buy a house.

“The mortgage market itself is in robust health and Help to Buy is still giving first-time buyers a great opportunity to start homeownership. These are the two things we want to see reinforced.”

Bovis stressed it was trading in line with City hopes and confirmed plans for a 14 per cent rise in the interim dividend on last year.

The builder has also swollen its land bank and now has 2,944 consented plots of land across 17 new sites approved for purchase in the first half of the year.

The FTSE 250 company has also bolstered its strategic land holdings – sites which Bovis is steering through the planning process – eventually expected to provide valuable development land, mainly in the South of England, as consents are achieved. “These sites will deliver over 2,000 future plots to the land bank with high profit margins,” the company said.

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