Barratt delivers profit cheer as completions jump to 11-year high

Barratt Developments has upped its full-year earnings outlook after it said completions have surged to an 11-year high.

Britain’s biggest housebuilder said it delivered 17,111 homes, excluding joint ventures, in the year to June 30 – up 2.6% on the previous year.

It said efforts to boost its margins are set to see pre-tax profits beat market forecasts, at around £910 million – which would mark an 8.9% rise on the previous year and another record high for the group.

But the group’s full-year trading update showed a fall in the average private selling price, down 5% to around £312,000 due to changes in the mix of homes sold, which it said was partly offset by some underlying house price inflation.

Chief executive David Thomas said: “It has been another very good year for the group, both operationally and financially.

“We begin the new financial year with a strong forward order book and cash position.”

The group also brushed aside any worries over Brexit uncertainty hampering the new-build market.

“Whilst there remains some economic and political uncertainty, the group is in a strong position,” it said.

The profit cheer comes as the group said it had boosted its profit margin “significantly” over the past five years, with an operating margin of around 18.9% expected from the year, up from 17.7% previously.

Total forward sales stood at £2.6 billion as of June 30 – or 11,419 homes – up from £2.2 billion the previous year