UPDATE 2-Taylor Wimpey to pay extra dividends as UK house market booms

Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:55am EST

* To pay out 250 mln stg in 2014-2015, more from 2016

* FY pretax profits rise 48 pct to 268.4 mln stg

* Completes 11,696 homes in 2013

By Brenda Goh

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Shareholders in British housebuilder Taylor Wimpey are set to pocket an extra 250 million pounds ($417 million) in dividends over the next two years, benefiting from a housing market recovery that has boosted builders' profits.

Taylor Wimpey Chief Executive Pete Redfern said on Wednesday the special dividends - which are on top of regular payouts - were likely to be just a start, as the firm tempers purchases in a land market which he said was starting to heat up.

That's good news for the shareholders, but could anger many first-time buyers who argue that a shortage of supply is driving up the cost of new homes to unaffordable levels.

British house prices rose by 8.4 percent in 2013, mortgage lender Nationwide said in January. A Reuters poll of 27 economists and analysts forecast house prices would rise by another 7 percent this year.

Taylor Wimpey said it would pay a 50 million pound special dividend in July 2014 and another 200 million pounds in July 2015, with plans for more after that.

"It isn't just a 2014, 2015 event - we see it as being an ongoing part of the strategy," Redfern told Reuters. "We do see the 200 million pounds that we are proposing for 2015 as being a signal of the rough (annual) size."

Taylor Wimpey also increased its regular full-year dividend to 0.69 pence a share from 0.62 pence in 2012.

Other housebuilders have also announced similar big payouts to shareholders. Persimmon on Tuesday brought forward its 1.9 billion pound distribution plan, while Berkeley Group accelerated a dividend payout to shareholders in December.

Britain's housing market recovery picked up last year after the government launched a scheme to help struggling house buyers to obtain mortgages, shoring up demand for the homes built by the likes of Taylor Wimpey but leading some economists to fret about the possible emergence of a house price bubble.

Taylor Wimpey said its profit before tax and exceptional items for the year to Dec. 31 rose 47.6 percent to 268.4 million pounds, with revenue up 13.7 percent to 2.3 billion pounds.

The company was expected to post pretax profits of 254-331 million pounds, a Thomson Reuters survey of 14 analysts showed.

Taylor Wimpey's order book at Feb. 23 stood at 1.49 billion pounds. It completed 11,696 homes over 2013, and said it had sold about 55 percent of its expected 2014 completions.

Panmure Gordon analyst Mark Hughes said that while Taylor Wimpey's results and dividend plans were positive, the stock and sector had had such a strong run that investors were now looking to take profit.

At 1015 GMT, Taylor Wimpey shares were down 3.7 percent at 123.1 pence, compared with a 2.5 percent decline in the Thomson Reuters UK Housebuilding Index. That index has surged by 57 percent over the past year.

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