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Help to Buy helps Barratt boost sales

Homes developer Barratt has reported strong trading figures for the six months to December 31st, partly attributed to the success of the Help to Buy initiative.Forward sales for the group totalled £1.2 billion - an increase of 71 per cent on the previous year.The average selling price of a Barratt home rose 13.7 per cent to £211,000.Some 19.3 per cent more homes were completed than the previous year, totalling 6,195 over the course of the six months. Private completions are up 22.7 per cent to 5,202. Affordable homes completed number 751 units, which compares with 844 in 2012.Barratt Developments stated the Help to Buy initiative has played a key role in boosting demand for new homes. Some 29 per cent of new completions utilise the scheme.Underlying sales figures have risen as a result of better market conditions and stronger consumer demand leading to a reduction in incentives.Group chief executive Mark Clare commented: "As a result of the continued recovery of the housing market across all regions and our £3.1 billion investment in new land over the last four years, we have been able to increase materially the number of new homes being built and our profitability." He said the company's disciplined approach to operations means it is "well placed" for the next financial year.Opportunities are being exploited in the land market, with the group approving the purchase of 11,394 plots in the first six months. In London and the south east, the group is focussing on acquiring land from the public sector and sites that are larger or more technically complex.Barratt's strong performance reflects recent market surveys showing a rise in house building is driving the construction recovery. The Construction Products Association (CPA) recently forecast output growth of 3.4 per cent in 2014 and 5.2 per cent in 2015, driven by house building.Uncertainties surrounding the end of Help to Buy led the CPA to reduce its growth forecast for private house building output in 2016. 

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