Profits up 9 pct in 2018 says UK homebuilder Barratt

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Barratt Developments' shares rose after the company said it would beat profit targets.

Total home completions rose 1.1 per cent to a decade high of 17,579 for the year ending 30 June, while average selling price rose five per cent to £289,000 compared with £275,200 pounds the year before.

"We continue to drive the business forward with a particular focus on further margin improvement, volume growth and continuing to deliver the highest quality houses across the country".

Conditions in central London proved better than expected in the last couple of months, the housebuilder said, putting to rest some fears that the housing market in the capital was slowing. The rating was maintained by Shore Capital on Thursday, May 10 with "Sell". The total plots that were forward sold also rose 4 per cent to 10,155, an increase from 9,762, at a value of £2.1bn. Previous year the group had forward sales of 9,762 plots work £2.14bn.

'The board is confident in the future progress of the group and we enter our new financial year with good momentum supported by a strong forward order book, ' Barrett said.

Barratt Developments intends to pay an ordinary dividend based on 2.5 times dividend cover. Its most productive year to date was 2008, when it completed 18,500 properties.

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He added: "While profits might be at their highest for a decade, the share price is around 30 per cent lower than its peak in the second half of a year ago".

"House price growth is moderating, and interest rates look like they might be going up soon too". The stock of Barratt Developments plc (LON:BDEV) earned "Buy" rating by Canaccord Genuity on Wednesday, February 21.

Thomas said: "This has been another strong year for the group, both financially and operationally".

"This is underscored by the forward sales position being down in the core business (by 2%) and in the JV [joint venture] line by 32%: we have before seen Barratt press down harder on the accelerator when in 2016 sales from the JVs were realised earlier than planned".

Robin Hardy, an analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said that while the group was beating expectations, there was reason to remain cautious about its outlook.

Shares in Barratt were up 2% in morning trade.

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