Barratt says it has seen a strong start to 2015 with 279 net private reservations per week over the past eight weeks, comparable with last year’s lively market (2014: 285). There have been 0.71 net private reservations per active site per week (2014: 0.76).
Reporting its half year figures to the end of 2014, the firm revealed that completions in the period were at the highest level for six years, up 12.5% at 6,971. Site openings are up significantly with nearly 100 new sites opened in the six month period.
“Since 2009 we have committed to invest over £4 billion in land for new housing and this is now paying off,” said Barratt Group ceo Mark Clare. “Housing completions were up over 12% during our first half and are running at the highest level for six years, supporting over 12,000 suppliers and subcontractor companies. Over the next six months we plan to open a further 90 sites (including jvs) that will deliver another 13,500 new homes over their lifetime.”
Barratt says materials shortages – particularly of bricks and blocks – have eased and while a shortage of skilled labour – especially bricklayers – continues to affect the industry, this has moderated as labour has returned. Barratt has also benefited from better production management reducing peaks of activity.