Wimpey chairman John Robinson said last week that the housing market seemed to be cooling after the sharp rise in prices in the sector last year.
Experts have maintained for some time that the price inflation in the housing market, which some banks last year claimed reached 30%, was unsustainable.

In a trading statement Robinson said: "In 2003 the UK housing market would appear to be returning to more normal and sustainable conditions with only modest levels of price increases."

Robinson added, however, that Wimpey's prospects appeared healthy. He said selling prices and margins were higher than at this point last year.

Robinson said: "Our broad geographic and product spread and limited exposure to high-priced markets limit our exposure to any areas of weakness that might emerge."

The company confirmed that Christopher Bartram has left his post as non-executive director.