Bellway annual profit rises on strong demand for affordable homes

FILE PHOTO: A Bellway sign is seen at a housing construction site in London, Britain, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) - British housebuilder Bellway Plc BWY.L reported higher annual pretax on Tuesday as the government's help-to-buy scheme and low interest rates boosted demand for its affordable homes in a tough real estate market.

The company has been benefiting from new house varieties it launched last year and is developing a new construction specification that will help rationalize the number of suppliers it uses.

Newcastle-based Bellway said its recently launched Artisan collection house type was progressing in line with expectations.

The equity loan scheme, originally introduced as a short-term measure that makes it easier for first-time buyers to afford a home, has been criticized for potentially overcharging buyers and the poor quality of its homes.

As the UK looks to exit the European Union, Bellway said it had been in close contact with its supply chain partners over last year to reduce any risks to its business.

The company, which builds everything from one-bedroom apartments to six-bedroom family homes and luxury penthouses, said profit rose 3.4% to 662.6 million pounds ($836.07 million)for the year ended July 31.

The FTSE 250 housebuilder reported a forward order book of 4,878 homes, compared with 4,841 homes in 2018, while the average selling price of homes rose to 291,968 pounds from 284,937 pounds.

Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu