Shares in George Wimpey fell 10p on Tuesday after it warned the market it was experiencing “more challenging” conditions.
In a trading update issued to the stock exchange, the volume housebuilder blamed interest rate rises and media coverage for denting consumer confidence in the housing market.
The fall in share price to 378.25p reflected a growing unease in the City about future prospects for the market as a whole.
The statement from Wimpey said that since it published its half-year results in July, “a further increase in interest rates and continued media speculation about house prices have continued to influence customers’ behaviour.”
Stephen Rawlinson, an analyst at Arbuthnot, said that the fall in share price was probably a response to the lack of information about future prospects in the statement.
“The amazing thing was the lack of data in terms of 2005 and forward sales,” he said.
Investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein downgraded Wimpey stock from “hold” to “sell” after the announcement.
Wimpey said that customers were taking longer to make decisions, so that the recovery in reservations since the summer was limited. By contrast, the US market had remained strong.
But the housebuilder said that UK prices had remained “generally stable”, and that “margins continue to perform in line with expectations”.
The statement came one month after Peter Johnson, the firm’s chief executive, warned the government that its housing targets were unrealistic.