House builder Bellway enjoyed a 12% rise in sales for the six months to the end of January, but warned of tougher times ahead.
In a trading update, the group said it completed the sale of 2,247 homes during the reporting period - up from 2,014 a year ago.
Bellway’s operating margin fell to 6% percent, compared with 9.2% the year before, and its average sale price was also down fractionally at £156,000 compared with £156,146 for the six months to January 2009.
The house builder’s order book at 31 January stood at £390m (2009: 296m), representing 2,506 homes (2009: 2,173), of which 706 are for the following financial year (2009: 665).
Bellway has sold or reserved 92% (2009: 81%) of this year's target. Reservations have averaged 85 per week, compared to 65 in the corresponding period last year, and 104 from February to July 2009.
However, it warned: "With mortgage providers continuing to require a high level of deposit, particularly for first time buyers, we expect trading conditions during the first half of 2010 to be subdued relative to historic levels.”