Taylor Wimpey cautious despite improving sales

House builder Taylor Wimpey said its sales performance since the start of the year had been "at the upper end of our expectations" but lamented that mortgage lending remained a constricting factor on the market.

House builder Taylor Wimpey said its sales performance since the start of the year had been "at the upper end of our expectations" but lamented that mortgage lending remained a constricting factor on the market.

In a statement released prior to its annual general meeting on Thursday, the group's Chief Executive, Pete Redfern, affirmed that UK market conditions remained stable, with positive trends continuing.

"Against a background of positive sentiment towards the housing market, we have seen an increase in visitor levels and reservations, driven by improved customer confidence and helped in recent weeks by the government's Budget announcements."

He warned that management had not forgotten that "the macro uncertainty which has characterised the last few years still remains" and as such it retains "a cautious approach, even given the more optimistic outlook".

Nevertheless, the board was content that with its current strategy it expected to deliver "significantly improved and more sustainable returns across the housing cycle".

The value of the group's total order book stood at close to £1.2bn, up 27% since the end of the calendar year and over 18% from the equivalent point last year.

Taylor Wimpey's balance sheet remained robust, with net debt lower than in-house expectations at £195m, and its financial outlook being recently recognised by upgrades from the credit rating agencies.

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