Private reservations for first four months strongly up on last year but still 25% down on 2007 peak

Bovis Homes Group will announce later today that the level of trading for the first 17 weeks of 2009, to 1 May, is 71% up on the same period last year, with private reservations up from 373 to 638.

However, this is still 25% lower than the figure achieved for the same period in 2007, when the housing boom was at the top of its cycle.

The group will make the statement in its annual general meeting today.

Bovis homes
Bovis has reduced its unsold finished stock by 40%

To drive cash flow, the group has prioritised the sale of its advanced build stock, and has reduced its unsold finished stock by 40%, from 1,000 homes at the start of the year to around 600 homes.

The group said it remained cautious in its view of the housing market, given the poor availability of mortgage finance. Total sales in 2009 would largely depend on the strength of the market between now and the end of October, it said.

This year Bovis aims to deliver strong positive cash flow, repositioning the group's balance sheet with lower work in progress and low debt levels.

The group said that this would enable it to invest in the residential land market at what it anticipates will be attractive value in the second half of the year.