UK homebuilder Bovis boosts output as sales surge

Bovis Homes said it had built 80% more homes so far this year than in 2013 as it battles to keep up with rising sales demand.

The Kent-based housebuilder has 2,096 private reservations on its books for this year, an increase of 78% on the same period last year.

Sales prices continue to increase ahead of management expectations, with the company confident that it will be able to offset an anticipated 5% rise in build costs through higher sales prices.

With strong growth in sales activity, Bovis is stepping up production activity and is now operating from an average of 93 active sales outlets, compared with 90 last year.

It added in a trading update: “The group is aware of the importance of its positive contribution to the Government’s ambition to increase new homes production.”

Greater consumer confidence, improved access to mortgages and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme have boosted the market.

The Help to Buy programme enables those who have only a 5% deposit to buy new-build homes with the help of Government loans. It was extended by four years to 2020 this year. However there are fears in some quarters that it could stoke a housing market bubble.

The group said it achieved 1,151 net private reservations in the 18 weeks to May 9, a 24% increase year on year. Net private reservations per site per week have improved by 21% to 0.69.

The Kent-based firm expects its return on capital to rise to at least 15%, from 10.4% a year ago. It continues to buy land and so far in 2014 has added 3,273 plots across 17 sites, and has options on 808 plots on a further eight sites.

Bovis chief executive David Ritchie said the positive market backdrop has allowed the “group to balance the delivery of strong sales rates with positive pricing improvements.”

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