Countryside Properties this week announced a turnover of £165.9m for the six months to 31 March, a fall of 11% (£20.1m) on the same period last year
However, the housebuilder did post a rise in pre-tax profit of 0.8% (£12.6m).

The company put its modest results down to the reduced number of houses available for sale compared with last year.

Chief executive Graham Cherry said: "We always knew the first half would generate lower levels than last year. It's down to the fact that we've sold fewer homes because of the timing of the build programme."

Cherry added that the company had noticed a slowing down of its core London and South-east markets but added that houses under £300,000 were still selling well.

Chairman Alan Cherry predicted a stronger second half of the year – provided that the economy and housing markets did not deteriorate.