Gleeson aims to continue a drive to increase the average price of its houses and has set itself a target of £180,000 in the next six months.
Chairman Dermot Gleeson said: "It has been a deliberate and steady plan. It's a change of mix rather than house price inflation that has seen the average selling price rise." He was speaking at a results meeting in which he announced that pre-tax profit had risen 15% to £5.3m on turnover of £184m, up from £141m for the six months to 31 December 2000. Operating profit for the housing division increased 14.6% to £3.2m.

Gleeson said that the number of completions for the year to June would fall from 720 to 600 as it moved upmarket. He added that the group had no immediate plans to enter the consolidation craze sweeping the sector.