Housebuilder dismisses newspaper reports that it is focusing solely on social housing

Kier has dismissed claims it will exit the private housing market following media speculation it will throw in the towel.

John Dodds

The rumours were sparked after chief executive John Dodds told the Financial Times that the group's housing business will now focus on social housing.

“There's a sea change in how we're running the business,” Dodds told the paper. “The traditional model of housebuilding - buying land, putting up a house, selling it on spec - is something that will disappear from our business.”

A company spokesman said: “It is ditching the traditional model in the sense land will also be used for the affordable housing and property businesses.”

Prior to the downturn, Kier had been the 15th-largest housebuilder in the UK, building about 2,000 homes a year. In the past two months its housing activity levels have been down by 76%, in line with other developers.

Kier's landbank of 6,000 units is now being examined, possibly with a view to converting it to other use.