Housebuilder George Wimpey has reported that its sales are now outstripping those for last year.

In its annual meeting last week, the company said that positive market trends at the beginning of this year had continued, and that in the UK Wimpey's sales volumes were above those for last year.

Wimpey also said that the price of houses had increased in some areas, particularly in the South.

Wimpey's fortunes were slightly worse in the USA where sales levels have been below those of the same period last year.

Referring to the USA, a statement from the company said: "Prices have remained at similar levels to those at the beginning of the year with the slower market conditions requiring a return to the use of incentives."

Housing analysts at investment bank Numis said: "Although we're more optimistic about the outlook for the UK business, as the market in the USA begins to cool, we need the improvement in the UK market to continue, before we can justify a higher valuation."

Last September Wimpey reported results for the six months to 3 July showing overall profit down 21% to £122m and operating profit in the domestic market down 32% to £106m.

Completions in the UK fell 10% to 4576, although the average selling price remained roughly stable at £184,600.