Housebuilder plays down fears of market slowdown and says that it has secured 70% of its projected sales.

Barratt Developments has achieved £1bn forward sales for the new financial year. The housebuilder said that together with completions it had secured 70% of its full year projection.

The group, which recently announced a £367.7m pre-tax profit for 2003/4, said that it would establish four new divisions to help it reach its target of building 20,000 homes per annum by 2020.

In today’s (Thursday) AGM statement Barratt said the fundamentals of the housing market were secure even though sales had moderated in the last few months.

Despite negative media reporting, and the uncertainty this causes potential buyers, we are currently achieving sales levels sufficient for us to secure another year of progress

Barratt Chairman Charles Toner

Chairman Charles Toner said that the market was supported by historically low interest rates, good employment levels and the severe constraint on supply caused by ongoing difficulties with the planning system.

He said: “All of these underpin the market and ensure that in the medium and longer term overall demand will continue to exceed supply.”