It attributes improving sentiment, at least in part, to government initiatives to boost the housing market.
Private net reservations were up 26% in the first 19 weeks of the year, from 783 last year to 989. This has been driven by an 11% increase in the average number of active sales outlets to 91 (2012: 82), and a 14% improvement in the average private sales rate to 0.57 net reservations per site per week (2012: 0.50). The number of visitors to the sites is up 29% on last year. Sales prices achieved on reservations are slightly above management's expectations.
“Experience with Help to Buy in its early weeks has been encouraging with strong interest from home buyers and an increase in visitor numbers to the group's sales outlets,” the company said. “Whilst it remains difficult to assess its full potential positive effect on legal completion volumes, the group is confident that this government-backed shared equity product will drive transaction volumes in the new build sector. This will in turn provide impetus to the number of new homes built.”
With the market looking better, Bovis Homes has bought an additional 2,238 consented plots on 14 sites so far this year, to increase sales outlets next year.
Chief executive David Ritchie said: “The ongoing success of the group's growth strategy has driven strong trading in early 2013. Homebuyer sentiment has been improving and, with the recently announced government initiatives, sales rates have increased ahead of management's expectations. The increased number of active sales outlets in excellent locations, delivered from the group's assertive land buying over the last few years, provides a great opportunity to take advantage of the improving market backdrop and further strengthen shareholder returns."