Group builds 7822 homes but housebuilder warns that US completions will be down on last year's levels

George Wimpey, the volume housebuilder, today revealed a 25% increase in pre-tax profit for the six months to 2 July, but warned that in the USA completions for the were likely to fall below last year’s levels.

Pre-tax profit hit £152.3m, and the group achieved a total of 7822 homes, a 25-year record.

The company said that the UK market had been 'stable' since the beginning of 2006, and completions were up by 28% to 5854 units. However, operating margins in the UK dropped to 11.2% from 12.7% compared with the same period last year.

In the USA, completions dropped by 1% to 1968 bit the company warned that levels were likely to drop further in the second half.

Chairman John Robinson said: “In the US, with continuing short-term uncertainty in the housing market, it remains difficult to predict the outcome for the remainder of 2006.”

“Against this backdrop and compared with the record levels achieved in 2005, we expect completions to be below those achieved last year, with margins and prices starting to reflect the changing market conditions in the first half.

“We remain focused on reducing costs within the business, offsetting some of the increase in selling expenses and incentives.”

Group turnover at the group rose 19% to £1.39bn and the board recommended an interim dividend of 6.3% a share, up 10.5%.