Housebuilder’s trading statememt points to boosting margins and controlling costs

Barratt expects to start work on 110 new sites during the next six months, bringing its total number of active sites to 400.

In a trading statement to the City this morning the housebuilder said it aims to “retain a firm grip on costs” to boost margins.

The firm reported that average selling prices increased by 6% to £176,000 during the last six months of 2010 while operating margins rose to 5% compared to 2.4% the previous year.

Barratt also announced a partnership with Hitachi Capital to provide finance to parents looking to help their children get on the property ladder.

Mark Clare, group chief executive, said:  ”The group has delivered a significant improvement in both average selling prices and operating margin even though sales volumes have been affected by difficult trading conditions.

“We are on course to make further progress in the second half as we open new higher margin sites and continue to be value and quality focused.”

The trading statement added: “The group’s primary objective is to improve profitability through achieving full value for its products and retaining a firm grip on costs.  This will remain our focus in the second half.”