Contractor also sees slight improvement in construction order book

Galliford Try has said that sales in its housing business are above expectations, indicating that the housing market could be witnessing the return of a spring selling season.

In a trading update to the City this morning, it said £532m of sales had been reserved, contracted or completed, compared to £443m at the same point in 2010.

Chief executive Greg Fitzgerald said that the group had benefitted from having a concentration of its housing business in the more buoyant south of the country.

He said: “Against a background of challenging economic conditions in both the housebuilding and construction sectors, the housing market has exceeded our expectations throughout the spring selling season and we have continued to benefit from the strong southern bias of our expansion plan.”

Analysts had feared that housebuilders were not seeing a pick up in sales this spring, and that the year pattern of sales was still disrupted by the impact of the recession.

On its construction business, the company also announced a 3% increase in order book from the beginning of the year to 4 May to £1.8bn.

“Construction has also benefited from encouraging contract awards in the period and strong cash balances that lead us to expect the Group’s gearing will be minimal at the financial year end,” said Fitzgerald.