Housebuilder and developer Wilson Bowden this week revealed a solid set of annual results but sounded caution about the short-term future of the market.

Pre-tax profit increased 15.6% to £260.5m for the year to 31 December but chief executive Ian Robertson said: “We face a more uncertain market in 2005 including the potential effect of a general election.”

Robertson said inquiry levels had gone up since the lows of autumn, but the prospect of a further rise in interest rates could knock public confidence.

The full-year dividend rose 15.2% to 38p, and turnover was up 10% to £1.28bn. Shares dropped 14.5p or 1% to 1224p when the results were announced on Wednesday.

Analysts said that the company was being more candid than some housebuilders in admitting that margins would come under pressure.

  • Housebuilder Countryside & Metropolitan, worth £67m, said on Wednesday that it had received a takeover approach. The identity of the interested party and the proposed price were undisclosed.