Mark Clare reports good start to 2011 but says long-term recovery depends on availability of mortgage finance

Housebuilder Barratt has slashed its losses and seen its revenues hold firm in the six months to December 31.

The company posted a £4.6m loss, compared to a loss of £178.4m in the same half of 2009. Its revenue was slightly up, at £877.6m compared to £872.4m.

Real-time Share Price
Real-time Share Price

Housing completions were down, from 5,053 in 2009 to 4,832 in 2010, highlighting the weak state of the UK housebuilding market.

Chief executive Mark Clare said: “By focusing on price not volume and improving the underlying efficiency of our business, we have achieved a significant improvement in our operating margin despite a challenging autumn selling season.

He said: “2011 has started well with encouraging sales rates and stable underlying pricing. We expect to see further operating margin growth in our second half as we continue to optimise prices, reduce costs and open new higher margin sites from recently acquired land.

“However, the market remains fragile and longer term recovery continues to depend on greater availability of mortgage finance.”