Taylor Wimpey said in a trading update that its 2017 financial results, to be published next month, would be in line with expectation and the momentum was continuing into 2018. Low interest rates and the government's Help to Buy scheme were combining to keep the market sweet.
In 2017 Taylor Wimpey increased total home completions by 5% to 14,541, with an improved operating profit margin of 21.2% (2016: 20.8%).
The company has £512m net cash in the bank (compared to £365m this time last year) even after paying out £450m of dividends to shareholders in 2017 (2016: £356m). This year it plans to give £500m back to shareholders, assuming they approve.
Chief executive Pete Redfern said: "We achieved a strong financial and operational performance in 2017 and are continuing to deliver against our strategy. Despite wider macroeconomic uncertainty, housing market fundamentals remain solid and our trading performance has been good. We continue to increase housing completions, achieving 5% growth during the year, and ended 2017 with a good forward order book.
“We go into 2018 with positive momentum and expect to achieve further progress against our medium term targets. Our focused strategy of managing the business through the cycle, while also driving further operational improvements, will enable us to continue to deliver long term value for shareholders."