Last year was a good time to be a housebuilder. And it was the country's two remaining volume housebuilders – Barratt and Wimpey – that dominated in terms of turnover and profit. However, when it comes to margins, they trailed the pack in 16th and 24th place respectively. Smaller rivals, such as Bovis Homes, Fairview and Wilson Bowden, get the most bang from their bucks. And when it came to really big margins, it was retirement homes specialist McCarthy & Stone that grabbed the glory. It may be 10 times smaller than either Barratt or Wimpey, but it still managed an operating margin of 32.1%, helping it to a £39.1m pre-tax profit. The company, run by John McCarthy, is one of a number of firms in the list rumoured to be for sale or considering going private.