Retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone plans to buy a site a week as part of a land-buying drive

The firm hopes to have more than 50 extra sites next year with a market value of £500m.

The firm said it believed the housing market would improve by 2012 when many of the new sites will be finished.

Gary Day, the firm’s land and planning director, said the firm had already bought three sites and had terms agreed on others. He said: “There’s pent-up demand for retirement apartments after the constraints of the past year when people have been struggling to sell.

“The long-awaited green shoots are appearing, albeit in patches, and we need to be ready for sustained growth. I believe it is not too far away.”

The move follows trading updates and results from a number of large housebuilders that reported a stabilising market. Persimmon said it would start building on 50 sites before the end of the year.