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Barratt reports surge in profits

Barratt Developments has become the latest housebuilder to report a surge in profits and has announced a recruitment drive on the back of its half-year results.The company's pre-tax profits soared by 162 per cent for the year ended December 31st 2013, reaching £120.4 million. Revenue also rose by 33 per cent, to £1.26 billion. As a result, the group has announced an expansion of its recruitment programme.Barratt is the latest developer to report strong financial results. The government's Help to Buy initiative, along with record low interest rates, has resulted in a strong business climate for such companies. Some 29 per cent of Barratt's completions used the Help to Buy scheme.According to the government, housebuilding has reached a six-year high. The number of new home starts in 2012 increased by 23 per cent on the previous year and Whitehall continues to release land for new building projects.Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Galliford Try and CALA Homes are among the other housebuilders to post strong results during the past few weeks. CALA Homes announced plans to open two new divisions in the south-east of the UK. Galliford Try said it plans to double its profits by 2018 following record half-year results.Barratt said it recognises the current supply problems affecting the UK housing market and it supports the government's measures to tackle the deficit. It raised output by 19 per cent and  expects to deliver around 45,000 new homes over the next three years. The average selling price of a Barratt home rose by 13.9 per cent during the period, reaching £211,200.Mark Clare, group chief executive of Barratt Developments, attributed the strong financial results to the group's disciplined approach. "Our momentum has continued into 2014 with sales rates well above last year and forward sales of £1.7 billion. We are now expanding our recruitment programme to 1,100 apprentices, graduates and trainees, demonstrating our commitment to further controlled growth," he commented. 

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