Wimpey upbeat about house market prospects
Wednesday 03 September 1997
Echoing very closely comments made by rivals Persimmon on Monday, Mr Dwyer said new house price inflation was running at 6 to 7 per cent in the South-east, dropping to only 1 to 2 per cent in the North and Scotland.
He painted a bullish outlook for the market, even though the growth rate could be cut in two next year, as the Government took action to dampen consumer spending, he said. "It is reasonable to assume that house price inflation will halve to 3 to 4 per cent, but I would still suggest that is a very acceptable background against which to trade."
Mr Dwyer's comments came as Wimpey revealed a turnaround in its interim results to June, with profits of pounds 12.5m replacing losses of pounds 8.6m last time, boosted by a full six months' inclusion of the McLean Homes operation acquired in an asset swap with Tarmac in March 1996. The half-way dividend, which is being held at 2p a share, is covered by earnings for the first time since the late 1980s.
The group revealed it was ready to sell its Ardel housing land development operation in Australia as part of a disposal programme which has seen gearing drop from 57 per cent to 51 per cent since June 1996. Net assets at Ardel are worth around A$60m (pounds 28m). If a sale is agreed this year, as expected, it would swell currently planned disposal proceeds of pounds 50m for 1997. A further pounds 80m of assets remain for disposal after that.
Mr Dwyer also revealed that Wimpey was looking to break out of mid-market private house-building, which became the group's core business after swapping its quarrying and contracting interest in last year's Tarmac deal. Mr Dwyer said they would look at acquisitions or organic growth in the markets for both luxury homes and "customised" units as part of urban renewal programmes and might contemplate a move back into sheltered housing, which many groups backed out of in the late 1980s.
Group completions rose 7 per cent to 6,148 in the first half, boosted by a 50 per cent increase in overseas operations, principally Morrison Homes trading in five US states, which broke even for the first time for several years.
Mr Dwyer forecast that the original Wimpey Homes business would be back up to 6,000 completions by next year, with McLean following the year after.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Khorasan: Muhsin al-Fadhli - the man leading a terror group more feared by US officials than Isis
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Alicia Keys leaks own nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...