FTSE 250: Bellway shares up as it cashes in on UK housing demand boom
Bellway (BWY.L) shares rise after the company posted upbeat results as the sector continues to shine despite the cost of living gloom and rising interest rates.
The FTSE 250 (^FTMC) listed housebuilder shrugged off worries over a slowdown in the property market as the company demand outpaced supply.
The group said the value of its order book increased by 27.3% to £2.4bn at the start of June, compared with £1.9bn in the same period last year.
It hailed "strong sales demand" over the four months to 5 June, with an average of 253 reservations per week, compared with 239 a week over the same period in 2021.
Read more: UK house prices hit record £289,099 but market set to cool
"Demand is strong, reservations are ahead of last year and our order book remains substantial," said chief executive Jason Honeyman. "The positive sales market and the further investment we have made in land provides a strong platform to enable the group to continue its growth strategy in the years ahead."
UK house prices have continued to grow this year, with average prices hitting a record high of £289,099 in May, following 10.5% annual growth, according to Halifax.
It comes as Crest Nicholson (CRST.L) posted a £52m adjusted pre-tax profit in the six months to April, while revenues grew by 12.3% to £364.3m during the period.
The group also reported a first-half loss as a result of £105m in exceptional costs, driven by money it will pay out as a result of the Government’s Building Safety Pledge. Losses before tax jumped to £52.5m.
Read more: New UK mortgage commitments rise despite cost of living crisis
Both firms posted a growth in sales as demand remained resilient despite recent interest rate hikes, which threaten to impact mortgages.
Shares in the two FTSE 250 property giants jumped as price rises in the sector helped to offset surging construction costs. Bellway was up 2.5%, while Crest surged 7.2% to 273.4p in afternoon trade on Tuesday in London.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "There have been signs in recent housing surveys that the market is beginning to cool but updates from Bellway and Crest Nicholson suggest demand is still robust overall.
"Perhaps more impressively, price momentum continues to run ahead of rising costs and, as a result, margins are increasing. This suggests both companies are doing a good job of delivering the kind of homes people are on the hunt for.
"A shift towards hybrid working means those who can afford it are often looking for extra space to accommodate a home office. Supply of new homes remains a long-term issue in the UK and this is helping to support the market.
"With elevated staff and raw material costs the likes of Bellway and Crest Nicholson are exposed to the risks associated with a downturn in the market.
"All they can do is lay strong foundations, including the purchase of land cheaply to improve the economics of future developments, so they can withstand any coming storm and emerge safely on the other side. Notably both Crest Nicholson and Bellway are running with sizeable cash buffers."
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