Interim management statement reveals firm's active sites are down by 100 from last year

The chief executive of Barratt Developments Mark Clare, has admitted activity levels in the housing market remain “constrained”.

The comments were made in the firm's interim management statement. It revealed the company revealed it was operating at 362 active sites, compared with 449 in 2008, and 415 total sites, down by 100 from last year.

The firm admitted that the land market remains subdued, but said its forward order book stood at £846.6m, up from £817.7m in 2008.

The group is expecting to incur exceptional costs within the first half of the next financial year of around £125m, following its refinancing arrangements.

Commenting on the results, Clare said: "With the successful refinancing of the business now completed, we have substantially reduced debt levels and are in a strong position to buy land as opportunities emerge and to open new sites.

“Our net private reservation rates per site are running 34% ahead of last year. While trading conditions in the housing market have improved, activity levels will remain constrained until the availability of mortgage finance increases particularly at higher loan to value levels.”

The group added that further recovery in market conditions was dependent on increases in mortgage lending, particularly in the higher loan to value segment.