Bellway sells 1,000 fewer homes in last 10 months

Newcastle-based house building giant Bellway said on Tuesday it sold about 1,000 fewer homes between August 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, with sales volume dented by the restricted building activity enforced during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Bellway said it completed the sale of 6,721 homes, down from 7,674 homes in the same period a year earlier.

Bellway added: “Our order book remains substantial, with a value of £1,568 million at 31 May (2 June 2019 – £1,643 million) and comprises 6,038 homes (2 June 2019 – 6,312 homes).

“Sales activity has remained restrained since initially closing our sales centres, with the net reservation rate rapidly declining to an average of 71 homes per week in the ten weeks from 23 March to 31 May (25 March to 2 June 2019 – 231 per week). 

“Pricing has remained firm and our sales centre reopening programme is leading to a gradual pick-up in customer interest. 

“Notwithstanding this, we expect year-on-year sales activity to be severely constrained until a time when ‘lockdown’ restrictions are further lifted.”

In a trading update, Bellway added: “Given the ongoing uncertainty, financial guidance remains suspended, however, the resumption of build programmes should enable Bellway to slowly increase the number of completions throughout the late summer and autumn months. 

“Our actions to date, together with our sizeable forward order book and strong, asset backed balance sheet should ensure that Bellway remains well positioned to emerge positively from this period of uncertainty.”

Bellway CEO Jason Honeyman said: “Our priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and subcontractor workers. 

“With this in mind and following updated Government guidance with regards to restarting the housing market, we have carefully and gradually recommenced onsite construction and sales activity in England and Wales, whilst introducing strict social distancing requirements. 

“This measured approach has enabled us to continue serving our customers and has facilitated the safe return to work for many of our employees.”