Urban housing and regeneration specialist MJ Gleeson has made a pre-tax loss of £54.3m after land writedowns of £44.6m

Turnover in the year to 30 June 2009 fell 42%, from £94.6m to £55m, after the company sold 317 homes – 27% less than last year.

The company operates in north-west England and the average value of its homes fell by almost a third, from £149,000 to £102,000.

However, Dermot Gleeson, the firm’s chair, said there had been signs of improvement in recent months.

The news follows last December’s announcement by Chris Holt, the chief executive, that the company would effectively hibernate in 2009 because it had £16m of cash in the bank.