The chief executive of top-three housebuilder Beazer Group, John Low, has spoken out for the first time after gibes that the firm had missed the boat in the booming South-east market.

Low said he would not rush out and buy land at any price, commenting: "If it takes three or four years to get a stronger South-east presence, I don't care. And if I have to stand up in front of the City in three years and say I haven't done it yet, I have no problem with that."

In September, Beazer was criticised by analysts when its year-end results showed that sales in the South-east had dropped by almost a third. Group pre-tax profit was up only 3% at a time when most housebuilders were recording record increases on the back of a vibrant market.

But Low, who replaced long-standing chief executive Dennis Webb in July, said he wanted Beazer, originally based in the South-west, to be "a balanced national power".

However, Low did admit that the company had some catching up to do in the South-east. "We have missed out in the inflationary areas others have taken advantage of," he said.

The former Ideal Homes boss described how he had given 49 roadshows in nine days to visit Beazer's 3000 employees after his appointment in the summer. He told employees that he wanted to adopt a more open culture within the company, but that he was not about to make massive changes.

Low is reviewing each of the group's divisions. The largest, Beazer Homes, is developing standardised housing to reap cost savings from buying in bulk. Upmarket brand Charles Church is to expand into Hampshire and the London suburbs. The Partnership Homes business is on schedule with a prefabricated housing project. And timber-frame maker Torwood Homes will contribute frames to 30% of houses built by Beazer Homes and Partnership Homes this year.

Low said the group would continue to expand through acquisitions, although he strongly denied rumours that he was in talks with Alfred McAlpine.