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Taylor Wimpey sees progress in housing market

30 Jun 11 The UK housing market is stabilising and mortgage approvals are starting to rise, according to Taylor Wimpey.

In a trading statement this morning the company said that its UK operations have traded in line with expectations in the first half of 2011 and margins were improving. It is on track to achieve its target of double-digit operating margins in the UK in 2012, so long as market conditions remained stable.

Sale of the North American business is nearing completion, with all of the required regulatory and governmental approvals now received. 

Taylor Wimpey said that there were “ongoing signs of incremental improvement in mortgage lending, although the level of mortgage approvals remains very restricted”. It io working with the industry and the Council of Mortgage Lenders to facilitate further improvement and it has secured funding to help more than 1,200 first time buyers across England get on the property ladder through the government's FirstBuy scheme.

Group chief executive Pete Redfern said: "I am very pleased with our ongoing performance improvement in the UK and we have made good progress towards completing the sale of our North American operations.  We are well positioned to deliver further margin improvement in the UK, beyond our double digit operating margin target for 2012, through the development of our extensive strategic land portfolio."

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Taylor Wimpey is currently operating from 313 outlets, compared to 284 at 4 July 2010.  Private sales rates, net of cancellations, average 0.56 sales per site per week for the year to date, broadly in line with the first half of 2010 (H1 2010: 0.58).  Cancellations remain at historic low levels, with the year to date average running at 15% (H1 2010: 16%).

It  expects to complete approximately 4,550 homes in the first half of the year (H1 2010: 4,804 homes) at an average selling price of approximately £170k (H1 2010: £168k).

Mike Hussey, chief executive of property developer Almacantar has joined the board as an independent non-executive director.

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