Builder Bellway’s sales remain low in July despite ease in lockdown

Bellway sold around 14% fewer homes each week of July even as demand recovered from the depths of lockdown.

The housebuilder said that reservations averaged 140 each week in July, down from 162 last year.

It is a normally quiet part of the year for Bellway, but is still 13.6% lower than a year ago.

The company has reopened all its sales outlets, and apart from those who are self-isolating, all staff are back to work and construction has restarted.

Bellway completed 7,522 homes in the year ending July 31, a drop of 31% from the year before, as lockdown ate up precious time for the builder.

Its staff were furloughed on full pay while they were unable to be on site, and Bellway covered this out of its own cash, rather than turning to the Government for support.

Bellway said its order book was strong, at 6,588 homes, up from 4,878 a year earlier at a value of £1.76 million.

Chief executive Jason Honeyman said: “Our priority throughout this crisis has been the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and subcontract workers.

“The collective response from those who work for and with Bellway, both on and off-site, has been tremendous and this has enabled us to respond positively and responsibly during these challenging times.

“Our attention now turns to the trading year ahead. Whilst the economic outlook is uncertain, sales demand is encouraging, and the Group has built a strong forward sales position.

“With our resilient balance sheet, we will proceed cautiously along the road to recovery, determined to return the Group to its strategy of delivering long-term and sustainable growth.”

CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson said: “Bellway Homes also issued a trading update which showed the house builder completed fewer properties in 2020, due to the shutdowns that we saw in April.

“While completions fell to 7,522 from 10,892 the previous year, the company’s order book rose by over £500 million to £1.76 billion.

“The company didn’t provide any revenue or profit guidance, due to the ongoing uncertainties around the economic outlook and also declined to say when it would resume the dividend.”