Forward sales up 17% as operating profit jumps 80%

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has reported 17% year-on-year growth in its order book, taking forward sales to £835m.

In a trading update the housebuilder said a strong end to 2011 had enabled it to significantly outstrip its performance in 2010, and that sales so far in 2012 were encouraging.

The total number of sales within Taylor Wimpey’s order book has also grown, by 15% to 5,379 homes, and the firm said the positive trading had enabled it to meet its target to generate double-digit operating profit margin six months early, in the second half of last year.

The firm said its operating profit in the second half of last year grew by at least 80% year on year on the £49.1m reported in 2010. It will report full end of year results on February 29.

The number of homes completed in 2010 rose by 2% to 10,180, with 20% of those affordable homes. It said it will now seek to increase the number of outlets it is selling at, from 314 today, enabling it to grow completions in 2012.

The firm’s statement said that the first two weeks of trading in 2012 had “followed the encouraging patterns of the second half of 2011, with good visitor levels, healthy reservations and low cancellations,” but that “Our priorities remain value creation and margin improvement ahead of volume growth.”

Pete Redfern, group chief executive, said: “In 2011, we have taken the opportunity to focus on our strategy of driving value for shareholders through margin improvement and improving return on capital. It is pleasing to have reached our double digit operating margin target ahead of schedule and to be well-placed to deliver further improvement, providing that market conditions remain broadly stable.”