LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it expects its full-year operating margins to hit the upper end of its expectations, helped by government schemes that have stoked demand for its homes.
The company said on Wednesday in a trading update ahead of its full-year results that its operating margins would be ahead of its half-year margin of 13.1 percent, and over 200 basis points higher than its 2012 margin of 11.2 percent.
In November, analysts forecasted Taylor Wimpey to post a 2013 margin of 13.5 percent.
Its update, which comes after similar robust results from rivals Barratt Developments and Persimmon, reflects the rapid rate at which Britain’s housing market has picked up over the past year following the launch of government measures in April last year to help prospective homebuyers.
The return of buyer demand, combined with efforts by housebuilders to pick up land cheaply during the recession and build more lucrative family homes rather than city centre flats, have helped such firms to sharply improve their margins.
“We enter 2014 with an excellent order book, with improved margins and pricing and a very strong set of selling locations,” the company said.
Taylor Wimpey said it completed 7 percent more homes over the year to the end of December compared to the prior year, with its net private reservation rate for the full year at 0.62 homes per outlet per week, up from 0.58 in 2012.
The average selling price on its private homes rose by 7 percent to 210,000 pounds over the year, largely due to a shift to better quality locations, and its orderbook at the end of the year was valued at 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion), 27 percent higher than at the end of 2012.