Taylor Wimpey chief Pete Redfern has warned against any long-term extension to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, currently fattening sales and profits across the housebuilding sector.
The firm begins 2014 with a £1.2 billion pipeline of new orders — up 27 per cent year on year — after a 7% rise in sales last year, driven by the initiative. The builder also paved the way for analyst upgrades by pencilling in profit margin growth at the top end of hopes.
Help to Buy is due to wind up at the end of 2016. The Bank of England opposes any extension although Chancellor George Osborne has yet to rule one out. Asked whether he thought the industry was ready to stand on its own two feet, Redfern said: “I do. I absolutely would not advocate any long-term extension to Help to Buy.
“Any industry which has long-term Government support tends to suffer in the longer term. I would reduce it over 12-18 months so it gets tapered slowly rather than going from 100 per cent to zero.”
Taylor Wimpey also enjoyed a symbolic moment today as the firm — which was nearly toppled by £2 billion of debts in 2009 — moved to a net cash position for the first time “in at least two decades” according to Redfern.
The chief executive has overseen the sale of its US business and a £500 million cash call to tackle the balance sheet.
The number of mortgage loans fell 1 per cent to 60,000 in November, but remains 15% higher than a year earlier, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said today.