Housebuilder undeterred by challenging market as rise in affordable housing completions offsets dip in private sector.

Barratt has increased its pre-tax profit by 11% to £406.6m. A healthy year for Barratt saw sales increase by 2% to 14,351, and turnover rise 6% to £2,472.4m.

Despite the strong results for the year ended 31 June 2005 the housebuilder said the market conditions had been challenging throughout the year. It said that the economic outlook in the short-term remained uncertain despite the recent 0.25% interest rate cut.

Group chief executive David Pretty said: “Our wide geographic spread and product range, together with our urban regeneration and social housing expertise all contributed to a good result for the year.”

“The immediate economic outlook may be uncertain but a healthy forward order book of £900m, together with completions to date, puts us in a good position.”

Barratt said that operating margin increased to 16% and that dividend lifted 25% to 26.98p. UK average selling price was up 4% to £172,000. There was a 1% dip in private completions, 12,591, but these were more than offset by a 35% increase in social housing completions which rose to 1,760.