Bellway reservations down


Bellway reservations down
Housebuilder Bellway has revealed fewer people are reserving its homes, warning its full-year results would have to be reviewed in light of economic conditions.

In a statement Britain's fourth-largest housebuilder by market value reported its reservation levels dropped by seven per cent year-on-year in the four months to November 30th.

News Bellway's reservation levels have worsened since the company reported preliminary annual results in October come amid growing concern the housing sector is heading into a slowdown.

In the latest evidence of an apparent slump in the property market, Halifax yesterday reported a 1.1 per cent fall in UK house prices for November.

The fall recorded by the lender represents the largest monthly drop in property prices since December 2006 and the first time in 12 years the company's research has reported falling prices for three successive months.

Bellway today said its results for the year ending July 31st 2008 would have to be reviewed in light of market conditions prevailing in the spring of next year.

Commenting on the present market situation, the housebuilder stressed: "Whilst the supply side of house building remains constrained by planning, product and construction starts, the demand side is now being affected by a lack of consumer confidence and the economy generally."

However the company stressed the size of its current forward order book put it in a "strong position".

The value of Bellway's current order book stands at £677 million. Although lower than the figure of £689 million reported at the end of November 2006, the company said 70 per cent of its revised order book target had already been achieved.

Bellway is also confident it can deliver a small increase in volume, supported by a rise in the number of outlets which will become available in early 2008.

Last month rival housebuilder Barratt warned conditions remained tight in the property market and said its sales were down as a result. Bovis also revealed it had been hit by the ongoing global credit crunch, stressing it expected both sale prices and volumes to be down for the whole of 2007 as a result of weakening buyer sentiment.

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