Housebuilder Bellway Homes was in a cautiously optimistic mood last Friday when it made its annual general meeting statement.

Howard Dawe, chairman, said the company had been "encouraged by the levels of sales" it had achieved in the year to date and had secured 75% of its annual target since the start of its financial year on 1 August 2005.

However, he warned it was difficult to predict how the housing market would play out in 2006, "until the strength of the spring selling season is known".

Shares in the company closed 1.5%, or 17p, down at 1141p, when the announcement was made on Friday.

Bellway is expected to announce its results for the six months to 31 January on 4 April.

In the year to July 2005, pre-tax profit rose 6% to £218m. It completed 7001 units at an average selling price of £163,000.

Its presence in northern England helped the company to limit the adverse effects of the slowdown in the housing market, which was more keenly felt in the South.