(Adds CEO comments)
LONDON, July 7 House builder Taylor Wimpey
said it benefited from a strengthening property market
across Britain in the first half, helping sales rates and prices
come in at the top end of its expectations.
The company completed 5,766 homes, an increase of 11 percent
in the six months to end-June, it said in a trading update on
Monday. The average selling price of completions rose to about
206,000 pounds ($350,500) from 188,000 pounds a year ago.
Taylor Wimpey, which builds homes across Britain, said it
expected its operating profit margin to improve to about 16
percent, from 13.1 percent in the same period a year ago, and it
remained on track to deliver an increase of at least 300 basis
points for the year.
Chief Executive Pete Redfern said steps by the Bank of
England to keep a cap on borrowers taking out mortgages they
might struggle to afford when interest rates rise were stopping
the market overheating.
He said accelerating price growth in London was also
moderating, while price gains in other parts of the country were
starting to catch up with the capital.
"More growth in the south carried on in the first couple of
months of 2014," he said. "Today we are seeing broadly the same
growth across both markets, probably because the market outside
London have continued to pick up and the London market hasn't
gone backwards but the rate of selling price growth has slowed."
Data from lender nationwide last week showed that London
house prices soared 26 percent over the past year, the biggest
annual jump since 1987.
Shares in Taylor Wimpey, which builds about 9 percent of its
new homes within the M25 motorway that rings London, were
trading down 1.8 percent at 115 pence at 1005 GMT.
($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Paul Sandle, Editing by Li-mei Hoang)