Shares in Barratt Developments rose 2%, or 21p, on Wednesday when it indicated that the spring housing market would be strong enough to drive its growth targets.

David Pretty, the housebuilder's chief executive, said its forward sales had reached £910m, which represented 90% of its full-year projection.

The update came as Barratt announced its results for the six months to 31 December. Underlying pre-tax profit rose 4% to £164m, turnover rose 2% to £1.2bn, and adjusted earnings per share increased 3% to 48.2p. The interim dividend rose 15% to 10.34p.

Barratt has launched a new product, iPad, aimed at first-time buyers. Prices will start at £80,000 in the North and £100,000 in the South. The first development, in Middlesbrough, is near completion.