Reporting good first half financial results for the year to December, Barratt chief David Thomas said the firm was still in a wait and see mode, as it was still difficult to call how the Spring selling season would go.
He said based on the improved reservation activity experienced since the start of 2023, Barratt expects to deliver total home completions of between 16,500 to 17,000, including c. 750 completions from our joint ventures.
“The outlook for the second half of FY23 remains uncertain with homebuyer confidence and the availability and competitive pricing of mortgages critical to the health of the UK housing market in the coming months.
“We have, to date, taken several actions to respond to current market conditions, including significantly reducing land approvals, pausing recruitment of new employees and introducing further controls for new site openings to manage our working capital deployment.
He said: “Reservation activity in February and March 2023 will determine whether any further planned actions will be required.
“The group is in a very strong position. We have substantial net cash and a solid forward sales position. This provides a robust platform and creates flexibility to continue to respond to market conditions as they evolve throughout the coming year,” he added.
Barratt delivered a strong operational performance in the first half, delivering 7% growth in total home completions to 8,626 with reported profit before tax also advancing 16% to £501.5m from revenue up nearly a quarter to £2.78bn.
Operating margins slipped back to just below 18% from over 19% a year before. During the period, Barratt incurred £20m of extra costs on legacy properties relating to reinforced concrete frame remediation works.