Wilson Bowden profits increase 28.6% to £118.2m but chairman warns that interest rate rises are beginning to bite.

Wilson Bowden has reported a 28.6% rise in interim pre-tax profit but says that sales are becoming tougher.

The housebuilder made a pre-tax profit of £118.2m on a turnover of £592.9m for the six months ended 30 June 2004. Housing completions at David Wilson Homes also rose to 22.4% to 2,402 at an average selling price of £211,900.

Chairman of Wilson Bowden David Wilson said: “While interest rate rises undoubtedly had a calming effect on the market, we continued to sell strongly throughout the first half.”

Wilson Bowden said that Ward Homes, which it acquired last November, had made a significant contribution to first half results. It was also confident of increasing growth in Wilson Bowden Developments, which increased operating profit by 25.6% to £15.7m.

David Wilson said it was on target to achieve 5,000 completions by the end of the year, but said that he expected the market to be calmer in the second half of the year.

He said: “On the demand side, while we are still achieving a healthy number of reservations each week, there are some signs of sales becoming tougher to achieve as incentives begin to rise and sales take longer to sign up.”