Bovis Homes says order book up 77 pct, best position in years

Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:29am EST

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LONDON Jan 16 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Bovis Homes said its order book was at its strongest state in many years and that it was seeing robust demand for its homes in the early weeks of 2014, as buyers backed by the government help boost the housing market.

In a trading update on Tuesday ahead of its full year results, the company said it had 1,377 forward sales marked for 2014 delivery at Jan. 1, 77 percent higher than at the same point last year.

Bovis said it would post a "significant" rise in profits in 2013, in line with market expectations, driven by the completion of more homes, higher average sales prices and an improvement in its profit margin.

Analysts expect Bovis to post full year pretax profits of 74 to 79 million pounds, on revenues of 516 to 554 million pounds, Thomson Reuters data showed.

It completed 26 percent more private homes compared to the prior year, while a move to build more lucrative family homes in higher value, south England areas boosted its average sales price by 14 percent to 195,100 pounds ($319,000).

Its operating profit margin over the year rose to approach 15 percent, up from 13.3 percent in 2012, it said.

Britain's housebuilders have enjoyed a strong return in buyer demand over the past year thanks to a government move to help aspiring homeowners, which has stoked demand for their newly built homes and wider market sentiment.

Shares in Bovis, which have risen 33 percent over the past year, closed at 841 pence on Wednesday valuing it at 1.13 billion pounds.

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