June 5, 2020 / 7:10 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Taylor Wimpey sees jump in bookings as lockdown eases

(Adds details, share rise)

June 4 (Reuters) - Taylor Wimpey has seen a surge in interest in buying homes since its English sales centres and show homes came back on line and cancellations in Britain’s 9-week lockdown were down on the same period last year, it said on Friday.

Adding to signs that the property market may be quick to revive after an outright halt in March, the third largest UK homebuilder said its order book at the end of May was around 260 million pounds compared to a year ago at 2.78 billion pounds.

Shares rose 3% at open in response.

It said all its furloughed employees have returned but completions in the 22 weeks till the end of May were just 2,455, compared to 4,052 last year, reflecting the impact of site closures.

Around 5% of customers cancelled orders in the nine weeks of the lockdown compared to around 6% in the same period last year.

“Forward indicators have improved since reopening our sales centres in England and we have experienced a strong level of interest with a threefold increase in appointment bookings,” the housebuilder said.

Website traffic was up 32% compared to the same period last year, the company said, adding it had restarted construction on the majority of its sites in England and Wales and was preparing to return in Scotland. (Reporting by Muvija M and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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