But trading update reveals completions down one-quarter in second half of 2008

Housebuilder Barratt Developments has reduced its net debt by £230m, to £1.42bn at 31 December 2008, according to a trading update out today.

The update said that Barratt continues to operate within its banking facilities and debt covenants and declared that it has repaid its £200m term loan facility due in April 2009.

Barratt's Colneview development
Sales upturned slightly in the autumn

But managing director Mark Clare said he sees “little short term prospect for recovery” of the market. Sales at the firm picked up during the autumn, but completions fell by nearly one-quarter to 6,905 in the six months to 31 December.

Barratt also announced today that finance director Mark Pain will leave the group at the end of June.

The firm also revealed that it has won funding to build around 3,000 units of the government's new HomeBuy Direct shared-equity scheme across 138 developments throughout England, with an approximate sales value of £520m.