January 11, 2021 @ 12:00 by Steven Hugill
A Tyneside-founded housebuilder has hailed its “resilience and flexibility” in the face of COVID-19 challenges after posting higher sales.
Barratt Developments saw total forward sales stand at more than 13,500 in the six months to December 31, with completions – including joint ventures – exceeding 9000.
The figures represented increases of 14.3 per cent and 9.2 per cent on the previous year, respectively, with bosses highlighting the effects of pent-up demand caused by last year’s first national lockdown, the introduction of the stamp duty holiday and the March 2021 end of Help to Buy for existing homeowners.
And they say the firm is also laying foundations for further success, with 5635 plots on 35 new sites now approved for future development.
According to its results, Barratt – founded in the 1950s when accountant Sir Lawrie Barratt built his own four-bedroom home in Newcastle – recorded 13,588 total forward sales in the half-year period, worth more than £3.2 billion.
Furthermore, its 9077 completed sales were 763 better off than the previous corresponding period, with private sales of 6903 up 9.6 per cent and affordable sales showing a 5.7 per cent increase.
Its total average selling price also increased by 1.1 per cent to around £283,000.
Reflecting on the company’s performance, chief executive David Thomas said it had delivered an “excellent first-half performance”, despite the impact of COVID-19, and revealed it has awarded 200 shares to all employees below managing director level as thanks for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, we are confident our operating performance and strong financial position provide us with the resilience and flexibility to respond to the operating environment in the 2021 financial year and beyond.
“The business continues to be in a strong position with substantial net cash, a well-capitalised balance sheet, a healthy forward sales position with over 90 per cent sold for the financial year, a continued focus on delivery of operational improvements across our business and an ongoing commitment to deliver high-quality homes across the country.
“Based on current market conditions and site construction activity, we now expect wholly-owned completions to be between 15,250 and 15,750 homes in the financial year (and) remain focused on rebuilding our completion volumes to our medium-term target and current capacity of 20,000 homes.
He added: “Our teams have worked hard to make our operations COVID-secure and our first priority continues to be keeping our employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers safe.
“I’d like to thank our people for their efforts in helping us to rebuild completion volumes, drive further operational improvements and deliver on our commitment to build the highest quality homes across the country.”