HOUSEBUILDER Bellway said reservation levels have improved, compared with a year ago, in a trading update covering the 18 week period to November 30, today.
It said customers’ ability to access higher loan to value mortgage finance has improved slightly as a result of the continuation of the Government’s NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme.
This has helped reservation levels, net of cancellations, to rise to an average of 100 per week, which is a 6% increase compared with the previous year.
Bellway, which operates from 213 sites against 206 at the same time last year, has a regional office in Hunts Cross.
One of its most recent Merseyside sites is the 83-home development on Crosby’s Northern Road, the former site of a Littlewoods call centre which closed in April 2009 with the loss of 1,000 jobs.
The site, owned by the Liverpool-based football pools business, was used to make parachutes during the Second World War.
Bellway said its average selling price for reservations, net of sales incentives, has risen by 4% to £195,8000.
So far in the current financial year the group has recorded 3,951 sales, compared with 3,748 a year ago, which represents 72% of its annual target.
The board said it anticipates that legal completions will increase by around 5% for the six months ending January 31 2013.
The group continues to build its land bank and its land teams have spent £91m on acquisitions, resulting in a “modest bank debt” of £77m by the end of November.
Bellway said: “Given its balance sheet and operational capacity, the group is well placed to deliver future sustainable and responsible growth.”
Liverpool stockbroker Panmure Gordon issued a ‘hold’ recommendation on Bellway’s shares after today’s update.
Analysts Mark Hughes and Rachael Applegate said: “Bellway’s interim management statement read positively.
“We have a 3.5% upgrade to our earnings per share forecast and our new (share) target price is 1013p, from 957p.”