Bovis on track as profits rise


A focus on family homes in the south of England has left Bovis Homes on course to deliver a "significant" increase in profits, it said today.

The Kent-based group expects to meet City profit forecasts of about £31 million in 2011, up 68% on the previous year.

The group benefited from an 18% increase in private completions, while it also bought cheaper land following the downturn and focused on larger, more lucrative family homes in the south as first-time buyers struggle to get on the housing ladder.

This helped average selling prices increase 4.5% to £180,100 last year.

It added that its strong pipeline of new sites meant it was on course to deliver further "significant" improvements in profits in 2012, even though the market was expected to remain "challenging".

The bullish statement caused a 1% rise in the company's share price, following gains made last week from other housebuilders, including Persimmon and Barratt Developments, which also reported healthy trading.

Chief executive David Ritchie said: "We are delighted with the improved returns delivered in 2011.

"The group is well placed for 2012 with increasing active sales outlets and stronger profit margins."

Bovis had 80 active sales outlets at the start of 2012 but expects to add a further five sites during the year.

It had 568 forward sales at the start of the year, 35% higher than a year ago, reflecting stronger reservations for private and social housing.

The housebuilding sector was hit hard by the slump in property prices in the wake of the recession but its big players have rebuilt profits despite low transaction levels.

They have focused on snapping up cheaper land, concentrating their activities more on London and the South East, where the market has remained more resilient, and on building family homes rather than starter homes.