Chief executive Keith Miller said: “The last six months of last year were pretty tough. You never know but hopefully that is a bit of a turning point.
“We delivered a positive profit before interest and exceptionals of £5.3m, reduced debt by £170m, and recommenced investing in our landbanks.”
In the first 10 weeks of 2011, sales improved to 0.47 a week and visitor levels are 18% up on the same period of 2010.
Sales across the group fell 15% to £666m as the number of homes sold over the year dipped 7% to 1,915 and contracting turnover fell.
Over the year the construction business, which turned in a record operating profit last time, laid off 100 staff to give a reduced head count of 300.
Construction turnover fell 28% to £293m with operating profit down 38% at £9.5m. Despite the fall operating margins were kept above 3%.
Miller said construction has had a successful start to 2011 – doubling its preferred bidder appointments in the first two months compared with the same period last year and securing formal approval for £40m of BSF contracts.
Miller has identified 14,900 plots it can develop over the next five years, many of them from the portfolio obtained with 2005’s purchase of Surrey builder Fairclough Homes for £264m.