House builder Barratt Developments has hailed an 'improved performance' in the third quarter as it benefitted from a strong spring selling season.
Average weekly net private reservations in the period between January 1st to May 6th were 25.3% higher than the previous year, as a result of higher sales rates per site and increased site numbers.
Private average selling price on completions were helped by the continuing positive changes in mix and were up 5% year-on-year to £202,000.
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"Overall underlying prices continued to be stable, with greater robustness in London and the South East," the company said.
For the full-year, Barratt is now expecting 600 additional completions compared with previous guidance, resulting in total completions of 12,600.
"We have had our strongest spring selling season for five years. Our overall pricing levels have been maintained and average weekly net private reservations in the period are up 25% compared to last year. As a result we're ahead on achieving our objectives of improving profitability and reducing net debt."
Net debt at the end of the fiscal year (June 30th 2012) is expected to be £75m below the previous guidance of £275m. Net debt at the end of the prior year was £322.6m.
The company said that 1,600 individuals were registering with it each week after the March launch of the government's NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme, which offers up to a 95% loan-to-value mortgage.
"Whilst the economic outlook remains uncertain and the availability of mortgage finance continues to be a constraint, we expect the benefits of the various Government initiatives to continue to provide support to the industry," the firm said.
Shares had jumped 6.09% to 127.2p in early trading on Thursday.
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