Bellway aims to increase housing completions by 5% next year, after a rise in pre-tax profit in its end of year results.

The housebuilder sold 7,117 units in 12 months up to 31 July, up from 7,001 the previous year, and says it wants to increase this number to more than 7,500.

“We've upped volumes slightly and we’re aiming to be north of 7,500 units” says chief executive John Watson.

Pre-tax profit at Bellway rose 3.2% to £221m on a turnover of £1.24bn giving it a margin of 18%. Net asset value per share grew to 793p from 689p – a rise of 15%.

The results were tempered by a warning that although the north-east of England, Scotland and the Thames Gateway were performing well, sales in the rest of the country were “challenging” and the firm was using incentives to close most deals.

Regarding Bellway's progress in the regeneration area of the Thames Gateway, east London, Watson said: “Our average selling price there is £168,000, so we are developing a low-value product. If we supply the market at that price we find the market is very strong. The first-time buyer is very interested in homes at that kind of price.”

Bellway’s shares closed 27p lower at 1344p a share.