Housebuilder Higgins says it wants to move into the mixed-tenure market, after reporting that its pre-tax profit had broken through the £10m barrier, writes Lorraine Cushnie.

Higgins, which operators a social housing contracting division, plans to pitch for more mixed tenure work, following its work on a £21m project in Crawley, Sussex.

Paul Lewellen, the firm’s financial director, said the divisions had operated separately, but are becoming increasingly integrated as Higgins looks to win more schemes that combine social and privately owned housing.

“Mixed-tenure is an area we want to push, and we believe there’s much more demand for having all services under one roof,” he said.

Higgins revealed that its pre-tax profit rose 9% to £10.1m, for the year ending 31 July. Its turnover rose 8% to £206m.

We believe there’s much demand for having all services under one roof

Paul Lewellen

Contracting remains the biggest of Higgins’ divisions. Sales there increased 1.7% to £127m. The biggest rise in turnover was in housebuilding, which rose 27% to £78m.

The company made a £500,000 contribution to its pension fund, reducing the deficit to £1.5m.

Lewellen said: “Contracting was a little more steady this year, as it has taken a while for framework projects to get through the system, but we expect these to start soon.” He added that the company was expecting its group turnover to reach £240m next year.

The financial director was bullish about the future housing market, despite fears that a rise in interest rates next week would put a dampener on sales. He said: “I don’t think the market is sensitive to a quarter point rise. We’ve experienced steady demand. Only an economic downturn would effect the housing market.”