HOUSEBUILDER Bellway is benefiting from the Government’s incentive schemes to help get people on to the housing ladder.
The Newcastle company said the NewBuy programme has helped to boost customer reservations to around 100 a week. The figure, for the period from August 1 to September 30, is a 6% rise on last year.
NewBuy provides up to 95% loan-to-value mortgage products in England and was introduced in March to help people with no or very low deposits to buy their first home, which must be a newly-built property.
Bellway is currently selling from 213 sites nationwide compared to 205 a year ago and says that NewBuy now accounts for 10% of reservations.
The company issued the positive figures in an update to shareholders, which also revealed that the average selling price of a Bellway home has increased by 4% to £195,800.
Bellway has sold 3,951 homes in its current financial year, representing 72% of its annual target.
It is now expecting the number of legal completions to increase by around 5% for the six months to the end of January and said the operating margin is also likely to be slightly higher than last year’s 12.5%.
Bellway said: “Market conditions remain largely unchanged.
However, customers’ ability to access higher loan-to-value mortgage finance has improved slightly compared to the same period last year, as a result of the continuation of the Government’s NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme.
“The board is continuing with its previously outlined strategy of delivering improved shareholder returns through sustainable, organic growth in volume, selling price and operating margin.
“The board continues to believe that improvements in shareholder return can be achieved through organic growth, given that land can be acquired where the return on capital is accretive to shareholder value.”
In October, Bellway defied the recession to post a 57% rise in profits, thanks to Government incentives, demand for bigger family homes and a more stable housing market.
Average selling prices rose above £200,000 for the first time in the South, helping to push up turnover to £1,004.2m in the year to July 31, from £886.1m. Pre-tax profits leapt by 57% to £105.3m last year.
The company will hold its annual general meeting in January.