Quoted housebuilder Barratt this week revealed an impressive set of results for the first half of the year, as expected.

Pre-tax profit rose 20% to £171m and the company said that it had a record £1bn order book. It also disclosed that it had sold more than 90% of its homes for the year.

Chief executive David Pretty emphasised that the company was not just about building private houses on greenfield land and had doubled the number of social homes it had built to 1256. Barratt is in a consortium working on the London Wide Initiative, which aims to provide key worker housing on brownfield land.

Barratt builds homes with a wide range of selling prices, from £80,000 to £2m, the average price is £165,600.

Pretty said that it was too early to predict the state of the market this year but said that so far it had been encouraging. He said: “While the market has been more demanding, we have adapted to the new, more competitive environment, and sales have been encouraging since the beginning of the second half.”

During the six-month period Barratt bought 8974 plots and agreed to buy a further 8000 subject to contract. Pretty said that although the planning environment was still "very difficult" Barratt had secured planning permission on more than 85% of its land bank required for development in 2005/6.

Barratt recommended an interim dividend of 8.99p, an increase of 30%.