House-builders enjoying fresh construction boost in UK
Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK's largest house-building companies, built more homes during 2015 than it had in any of the previous six years, the firm has revealed.
With property construction picking up in Britain after several years in the doldrums, Taylor Wimpey said it built 13,341 homes last year at an average selling price of £230,000, eight per cent higher than in 2014 with the group notching up record operating margins of over 20 per cent.
The company, which almost went out of business in 2009 with huge debts, is expected to have made a profit in excess of £600 million during 2016, according to analysts. In a trading update, the firm said it had amassed a record order book, increasing year-on-year to £1.8 billion, representing 7,484 homes.
Chief executive Pete Redfern said, "We have delivered a strong trading performance in 2015, in a positive housing market, building more homes than at any point in the last six years and delivering a record operating profit margin of over 20 per cent.
"We are confident that the principles we are operating to will deliver long-term, sustainable value across the housing cycle."
Taylor Wimpey said it welcomed the government's commitment to a much-expanded house-building programme following Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announcement in his Autumn Statement of a series of measures designed to "tackle the crisis in home ownership", including a pledge of £7 billion in funding to build 400,000 new homes.
The company said, "Housing remains high on the political agenda, with a recognition of the structural demand and supply imbalance that exists in the UK."
Taylor Wimpey, along with other house-builders, is now benefiting from the uptick in the housing market, supported by rising incomes, low unemployment and attractive mortgage deals at a time of record low interest rates.
However, the company remains concerned about how the government scheme to offer a 20 per cent discount to first-time buyers will work in practice.
While Mr Redfern said he supported the government's aims, he added, "If you're going sell homes at a 20 per cent discount, it needs to be clear what that 20 per cent is to come from, and there needs to be a mechanism for working that out. It's quite difficult for us to be really confident about how much we can invest new resources and skills into that scheme when we don't know properly how that will be worked out."
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