House builder Bellway has returned to profit in its latest interim results, covering the six months to 31 January 2010.
The group posted a pre-tax profit of £19m, compared to a loss of £48.6m during the same period a year ago.
Turnover was up 13% at £361m (H1 2009: £320m).
During the six-month period, Bellway sold 2,247 homes, an increase of 12% on the H1 2009 figure of 2,014.
Of these, 1,766 were private sales (H1 2009: 1,635) with 481 sales to housing associations (H1 2009: 379).
The average selling price was down marginally at £155,871 (H1 2009: £156,146)
Bellway has net cash of £60.9m, after a share placing last August raised £43.7m. It spent £76m on land and land creditors in the period.
The house builder is currently trading from 180 sites but expects to increase this to around 200 in 12 months' time, of which 40 will be sites bought since the onset of the recession.
Bellway said it has secured its initial sales target of repeating last year's volume output of 4,380 and now expects to deliver an additional 150 - 200 homes in the year to 31 July 2010.
Its order book currently stands at £435.4m (31 January 2009: £370.0 million) and includes over 900 homes for 2010/2011.
Chairman Howard Dawe said: “While the market stabilised during the latter part of 2009, concerns still exist regarding unemployment, mortgage availability and the outcome of the imminent General Election.
“However, with the backing of a strong balance sheet and a positive cash position today of around £72m, Bellway will be concentrating in the coming months on land acquisition and selectively increasing work in progress, with a particular emphasis on the southern divisions where the market appears to be at a more advanced stage of recovery.
“These actions should assist in returning the operating margin towards a more normal level and the Board believes therefore that Bellway is well placed to benefit from a housing market that should gradually improve over time.”