Quoted housebuilder Bellway delivered a solid set of results this week, as expected by the market, and increased its dividend 25% to 31.25p a share.
Chief executive John Watson said despite a “tempering of the market”, organic growth at Bellway had driven pre-tax profit up 6.2% to £218m in the year to 31 July.
The company sold 7001 homes, which was an increase of 5.9%, at an average price of £163,800, compared with £161,400 in the previous year. Turnover rose 7.8% to £1.2bn.
The growth in sales of social homes was more pronounced than in private housing, a trend that has been seen at other housebuilders including Barratt. It increased the number of social homes sold in the year by 262 to a total of 828, mainly in the south of England.
Watson said: “Notwithstanding the present uncertainties, Bellway has continued with its policy of forward selling and this has generated a strong forward order book, which now stands at £597m.”
Analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein said the results were in line with expectations, but that it would be an “uphill task to prevent decline in 2006”.
Despite the positive results, shares in Bellway dropped 1%, or 9.5p, to 865p when the results were announced on Tuesday.