Housebuilder reports a marginal rise in turnover and profit slightly down for second half of 2007

Bellway has posted flat results for the six months ended 31 December 2007, despite what it called a “tough” market.

Turnover at the UK housebuilder was up slightly from £576.5m to £581.5m, while pre-tax profit fell by £4m to £96.9m.

Completions were down by 12 to 3,252 and the average selling price edged up from £173,300 to £174,800.

Howard Dawe, chairman of Bellway, said: “The current housing market can be described as tough. Particularly hard hit are first-time buyers who are having to find larger deposits in order to make their first step onto the housing ladder as a result of changes in loan-to-value criteria announced by lenders.”

The company said reservations between 1 August 2007 and 17 March this year were 9% down on last year and pointed to the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North-west as “challenging”.

It also said it plans to pursue a policy of opportunistic land buying in a “softening” market, given its low gearing.

Banker Citigroup said that Bellway had performed well in a tough market, while Kaupthing said it was one of the better sector stocks to hold given the defensive nature of its product mix, wide geography and hands-on conservative management.