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Taylor Wimpey plans dividend as profits rise

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has said it will pay a special dividend to its shareholders on the back of a "strong" annual performance in its UK operations.   The group saw its operating profits rise by 39 per cent to £312.8 million last year as the government's Help to Buy scheme resulted in increased demand for new homes.   Taylor Wimpey built 11,696 residential properties in 2013, up from 10,886 the previous year, while the average selling price of its homes jumped from £181,000 in 2012 to £191,000.   It also enjoyed 31 per cent growth in the value of its order book and a 14 per cent increase in revenue to £2,295.5 million.   As a result of its "surplus cash", Taylor Wimpey said it will pay out a total of £250 million to its shareholders, with £50 million being handed out this year followed by another £200 million in 2015.   The company also revealed that it expects to be able to make further "significant" cash returns to shareholders each year from 2016 onwards.   Chief executive Pete Redfern said that the UK housing market is showing "significant recovery for the first time in five years".   He added that his company has "continued to make significant investment for the future" and is "well positioned to continue to make further progress in the years ahead".   Taylor Wimpey pointed to the Help to Buy programme as a major contributor to increased interest in its properties last year, making mortgages more affordable for many prospective buyers.   A fifth of the firm's 2013 completions were supported by Help to Buy, while other schemes such as FirstBuy, NewBuy and MI New Home also aided the group's performance.   Taylor Wimpey is not the only housebuilder to have benefitted from an upturn in demand last year, as Persimmon has also announced a rise in profits, average selling prices and completions for 2013.   Its chairman Nicholas Wrigley said his group made "excellent progress" over the 12-month period, and also cited the Help to Buy scheme as a factor in this success. 

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