Continued demand for new homes has boosted housebuilder Bellway’s forward order book by 24.5% in the six months ended January 31 2015.
The Newcastle-headquartered business said its forward order book now stands at £975m and that it has seen further volume growth in the period, with a 15.7% increase in the number of housing completions to 3,754.
The company’s operating margin is expected to approach 20% for the period ended 31 January – up from 15.6% in the 2014 comparable period.
Significant investment in land has also been made, with around £355m spent on land and land creditors, a sharp rise on the comparable period’s £240m spend.
The average selling price of homes sold has risen by 3% to around £219,000 and the average selling price of private homes sold has risen by 7% to around £240,000.
The company said the improvement has been driven by the strong pricing environment and greater investment in primary locations over recent years.
The firm last year swelled its ranks by more than 10%, taking UK headcount to more than 2,000 employees, as it strives to meet housing targets and there’s expected to be further expansion this year with the business planning to open its sixteenth operating division.
Ted Ayres, chief executive, said: “The group’s strategy of delivering volume growth, with a strong focus on
return on capital employed has resulted in a further significant rise in profitability.
“With advanced plans to open a sixteenth division in the second half of the financial year, Bellway is well positioned to deliver further earnings growth.”