Upbeat assessment at Bellway


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The Independent Online

Bellway has become the latest British housebuilder to display signs of life in the property market, as it forecast a 5 per cent jump in sales in the first half of its financial year yesterday.

Shares in Britain's fourth-biggest housebuilder rose 20.5p to 749p as it released an interim management statement which also showed a 14 per cent increase in reservations between the start of August and the end of November, compared with a year earlier, and a 7 per cent rise in the average selling price.

The order book stood at £458m at the end of November, up from £440m a year earlier.

Adding further cheer, Bellway said it had seen a definite pick-up in demand in the past two months.

"The second nine weeks have been stronger than the first nine weeks, which is unusual... it's remarkably resilient," Alistair Leitch, Bellway's finance director, said, referring to the first 18 weeks of the group's financial year.

"I can only think people are thinking they're not going to take a blind bit of notice [of the eurozone crisis]... It's a needs market," he added.

Last week, Berkeley reported a 64 per cent surge in pre-tax profits to £101m for the six months to 31 October on revenues up by a fifth at £405m.