Contractors squeezed as Barratt boosts margins

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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Housebuilding giant Barratt is expected to start work on 110 new sites during the next six months despite continuing problems in the mortgage market.

The company will continue to drive hard bargains with its contractors and suppliers as Barratt vowed to “retain a firm grip on costs” in a trading update to the City this morning.

New starts on site are expected to increase the number of active Barratt sites across the country to 400 by June.

The firm revealed that average selling prices increased by 6% to £176,000 during the last six months of 2010 while operating margins rose to 5% compared to 2.4% the previous year.

Problems with raising mortgage finance continue to hamper the market and Barratt has announced a a tie-up with Hitachi Capital that will allow parents to borrow money to help their children onto the property ladder.

Mark Clare, Group Chief Executive, said:  “The Group has delivered a significant improvement in both average selling prices and operating margin even though sales volumes have been affected by difficult trading conditions.

“We are on course to make further progress in the second half as we open new higher margin sites and continue to be value and quality focused.”

The trading statement added: “The Group’s primary objective is to improve profitability through achieving full value for its products and retaining a firm grip on costs.  This will remain our focus in the second half.”

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