Bovis Figures Hit by Social Housing Commitment; HOUSEBUILDING

Article excerpt

Homebuilder Bovis Homes announced it sold six per cent fewer homes last year in a further sign that the housing market is slowing. It said the number of houses sold during

2007 dropped to 2,930 from 3,123 the year before. The average sales price also fell to pounds 179,400 from pounds 183,700.

Bovis said prices for its homes sold in the private sector went up by four per cent, but an increase in the proportion of social housing produced dragged down average sales figures.

The firm also signalled more uncertainty for the housing market ahead, saying its outlook for this year was "unclear".

Bovis said its forward sales book stood at 816 reservations at the start of this year, down 19 per cent from the beginning of 2007.

But this year's reservations figure was up 23 per cent on two years ago, according to the group.

Bovis said: "Given the rapid rate of emergence of these trends and an expectation that interest rate cuts will continue, the outlook for

2008 is not clear at present."

The housebuilder said it was concentrating on the "key" spring selling season as a guide to progress this year, adding that it was confident about longer term prospects.

Bovis said it had concentrated on maintaining profit margins during 2007 and expected pretax profits for the year to be in line with market forecasts.

In November, Numis Securities cut its forecast for the firm's 2007 pretax profits from pounds 140 million to pounds 122 million. …