Skills shortages have whittled away the benefits of price inflation for many housebuilders this year, says Countryside Properties chief executive Graham Cherry.

The boss of the South-east-based housebuilder said: “The key thing that has been affecting us is the lack of skilled workers, which has resulted in higher build costs.”

Despite these problems, the company raised profit beyond analysts’ expectations for the year to 30 September 1999. Pre-tax profit rose 31% to £19.2m on a record turnover of £251.8m – an increase of 23%.

The company sold 924 houses, compared with 762 the previous year, at an average selling price of £165 000, up from £138 000 last year.