Housebuilder feels effects of liquidity squeeze as it reports rising cancellation rartes

Unsteady market conditions are continuing to dent private sales at Barratt Homes, according to the company’s first interim management statement.

Mark Clare
Clare: Consumer confidence will be key for successful Spring

The company has reported that private sales are lower than at this time last year due to a “tightening” of the UK housing market. Cancellation rates are above last year’s levels.

Five interest rate rises over the past 18 months, combined with the recent “liquidity squeeze” on the mortgage finance market has led to uneasy conditions in the housing sector, it said.

The company said it has managed to keep completion levels and sale prices at steady levels by reducing costs and putting operating margins over volume.

Barratt chief executive Mark Clare said: “Consumer confidence and mortgage finance availability and pricing, will be key to determining the success of the 2008 Spring selling season.”

New transparency rules require companies to provide quarterly management reports on their financial performance