Barratt turns focus to 2015 as sales jump
LONDON May 8 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Barratt Developments expects to secure reservations for at least a quarter of its 2015 private completions by June, as the recovering housing market drives sales.
Barratt, the country's largest housebuilder by volume, reported on Thursday continued strong sales for the 18 weeks to May 4 period, registering 0.77 net private reservations per active site for the period.
"Our focus is now on full year 2015, and by June we expect to have secured more than 25 percent of our full year 2015 private sales, with planning now in place for 98 percent of total full year 2015 completions," Chief Executive Mark Clare said.
With its national portfolio of housing schemes, Barratt has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of government moves to free up mortgage lending, which have shored up buyer demand and boosted sales across the British housebuilding sector.
It said 2,150 of its reservations over the period were made by buyers using the Help to Buy scheme, which sees the government providing equity loans to home buyers purchasing newly built homes.
At May 4, the company's total forward sales - referring to homes reserved with deposits - were up by 46.5 percent on the prior year to 1.922 billion pounds ($3.26 billion), equating to 9,382 plots.
Shares in Barratt, which have risen 63 percent over the past year, closed at 376.3 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at 3.74 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.5894 British Pounds) (Reporting by Brenda Goh)