Barratt aims to build 2,000 homes a year in London

LONDON, July 24 Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:18am EDT

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - Housebuilder Barratt Developments said it plans to increase the number of homes it builds in London to 2,000 a year, as it looks to increase its footprint in the British capital where price increases have outshone the wider market.

Barratt, Britain's biggest housebuilder by volume, completed 1,586 homes in the British capital in the year to the end of June which had a selling price of between 160,000 pounds ($246,000) and 6 million pounds, it said on Wednesday.

"We are planning to deliver 2,000 new homes a year in London and our technical capability to deliver complex schemes in the capital is providing us with a competitive edge in securing new business," said Chief Executive Mark Clare.

The company said it planned to increase its London output in the medium term, declining to specify the number of years.

Barratt and other housebuilders such as Berkeley Group have focused on building in London where strong demand from foreign investors and a resilient local economy have kept buyer demand and prices high despite a slump in the wider British housing market.

London house prices rose 5.2 percent compared to a 0.3 percent increase across the broader market in June, stretching the gap between London and UK prices to their its widest ever, mortgage lender Nationwide said last month.

Housebuilders have also received a boost to demand from a recent government scheme to help struggling house buyers buy newly built homes worth up to 600,000 pounds.

The company, which has looked to develop its London schemes with joint venture partners such as a Morgan Stanley Real Estate fund, said it was making progress with two schemes - one with British Land and the other with housing developer London & Quadrant - to build 1,100 homes.

It said the gross development value of its London joint ventures was now over 2 billion pounds.

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