Laing Homes last week bought retirement homes developer Beechcroft for £9.6m.

The move will see Laing Homes, which has been rebranding itself as an upmarket homebuilder, taking a slice of the growing retirement homes market. This is currently dominated by McCarthy & Stone.

Beechcroft, which sells houses worth £200 000-500 000, builds mainly in central southern England. Laing plans to expand the company into the South-east, the Midlands and the London suburbs.

Beechcroft, previously listed on the alternative investment market, will keep its name and management structure.

Also last week, Laing reported strong sales in its housing division, both in the UK and the USA. In the UK in 1999, it sold 1275 units at an average price of £200 000, compared with 1133 at £176 000 the previous year.