First-half results show £8.6m loss for housebuilder but private reservations rise 92%

Housebuilder Bovis Homes has swung to a first-half loss of £8.6m but benefited from a surge in private reservations.

The firm posted a pre-tax loss of £8.6m, after exceptional items, in the six months to 30 June 2009, compared with a profit of £9.5m in the same period last year.

However, net private reservations jumped by 92% to 901 during the period and the group completed 738 private homes, an 18% increase on the 624 homes completed in 2008.

Profit before one-off items fell 90% to £1.2m, down from £11.7m in the first half of 2008, while revenue slipped to £122.6m, down 18% from £149.3m last year.

Bovis homes
Net private reservations jumped 92% while completions rose 18%

Average sales prices dipped by 5% to £159,700 from £167,600 the previous year and gross margin fell from 26.3% to 16.2%.

Bovis said house prices were “demonstrating a degree of stability” and that it expects improved demand for its homes as consumer confidence grows. However, it warned that mortgage availability and rising unemployment posed continuing challenges to pricing in the short term.

The group added that it had cut its net debt from £108m at 31 December to £14m at 30 June and expects to end the year in a net cash position.

David Ritchie, chief executive of Bovis Homes, said: “The group has made good progress during the first half of 2009, with a 92% increase in the volume of private home reservations.

“The group achieved a pre-exceptional profit before tax for the half year, despite the adverse impact from significantly lower home sales prices, as private legal completions grew by 18% and overheads were successfully reduced by 48%.”