Redrow warns over impact from self-isolating workers as profits rise

Holly Williams, PA Deputy City Editor

Housebuilder Redrow has revealed that a growing number of self-isolating workers is affecting construction, as it posted higher half-year profits on record revenues.

The group said it is seeing “some impact on work” due to self-isolating sub-contractors who are unable to work on building sites amid the second wave of the pandemic.

Its comments came as it posted an 11% rise in pre-tax profits to £174 million for the six months to December 27, as revenues topped £1 billion, up 20%.

Matthew Pratt, group chief executive of Redrow, said: “Operating within a further national lockdown continues to present challenges.”

He added: “There has been some impact on build as an increasing number of sub-contractor colleagues are unable to work whilst self-isolating.

“We expect to see this situation improve as the country’s overall Covid-19 infection rate decreases,” Redrow said.

The company said its sales centres were open on an appointment-only basis, with comprehensive Covid-19 measures in place, while most office-based staff were working from home.

The group saw legal completions jump 20% to 3,065 over its first half as its refocus away from London towards the regions pays off.

Last year Redrow scaled back operations in the capital, and has now exited four of six sites it had planned to develop, due to shifting homebuyer demands.

It expects to quit the remaining two before the end of its financial year in June.

Many homeowners are now looking for bigger properties as lockdowns and the pandemic force more people to stay at home.

The switch in demand, together with a stamp duty holiday that is due to end in March, has sparked a mini-boom in the housing market that has helped hold up the UK’s struggling economy.

Redrow said the changing buyer trends are “completely aligned to Redrow’s strategy”.

“Demand in the regions for our heritage homes has been particularly high as more buyers reflect on their lockdown experiences and prioritise space in their homes and access to green areas,” it added.

The group said its order book stood at £1.3 billion, up from £1.2 billion a year ago.

It restarted shareholder dividends thanks to the robust results, announcing a 6p interim payout, although shares slipped 4%.

But Redrow signalled activity may be easing back with the average weekly value of private sales reservations edging lower since the end of 2020 to £265,000 per outlet, down from strong comparatives of £298,000 a year ago.

The weekly private sales rate has also fallen to 0.67 per outlet from 0.78 a year earlier, although it said this was in line with “a more normal market”.

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