The era of boom and bust is over, housebuilder Redrow claimed this week.

Redrow Group managing director Paul Pedley said the market was returning to the stability of the pre-1960s after nearly 40 years of highs and lows.

"Now we have a low inflation, low interest rate economy, the massive peaks and troughs we have seen in the past will disappear. We are looking at a return to the sort of stable housing market we had before the mid-1960s." Redrow revealed a solid set of interim results with a 13% jump in pre-tax profit to £26.1m in the six months to 31 December 1998. Turnover rose 8% to £161.1m.

Completions rose 7% on the previous six months, with 1573 homes built.

Redrow said 1999 had started well, with forward sales at £90m, up 10% on last January.

And Pedley said the logjam of planning decisions was easing. The time taken to appeal local authority decisions had been cut from 10 months, in the worst cases, to about five months.

No such luck for rival housebuilder Fairview, as planning problems cast a pall over the company's first set of results since its demerger from Hillsdown Holdings.

However, pre-tax profit before exceptionals rose 10.4% to £48.1m, and turnover was 15% ahead to £187.5m in the year to 31 December 1998. The company set aside £5.5m to cover the cost of the demerger.

Fairview sold 1872 units in 1998 but chairman Dennis Cope warned that planning problems would result in lower sales in 1999.

Cope accused planning authorities of making extortionate demands in return for planning permission.