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Barratt Developments says housing recovery spreads outside London

By Brenda Goh

LONDON (Reuters) - Housebuilder Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV) said queues were forming for its housing schemes for the first time since the financial crisis, as the market recovery spreads beyond southeast England.

Barratt, Britain's largest housebuilder by volume, said on Wednesday that buyer appetite for its homes was so strong that for some sites it was making five to 10 sales on the day of a scheme's launch.

"Recovery is moving well beyond the southeast, we're seeing some very strong performances around the country and that's probably the first time in five years where we've been able to report that," Chief Executive Mark Clare told Reuters.

"We are seeing some very, very strong interest on new sites that we're launching around the country, even to the point where we're starting to see queues ... which is not something we have seen for many, many years."

He said cities such as Aberdeen and Edinburgh in Scotland, as well as Bristol in southwest England, were seeing particularly high levels of interest. "Where we're opening, people are waiting to get into those new show homes," he said.

Britain's housing market, which declined following the financial crisis, has revived in recent months thanks to government efforts to ease mortgage lending, as well as a general increase in confidence in the health of the economy.

While house prices in London and southeast England stayed relatively robust through the crisis, prices in other regions continued to fall up to the end of last year, before the government launched its Help to Buy scheme.

A survey on Tuesday showed British house prices recorded their fastest rise in almost seven years last month.

Barratt, which reported a 74 percent increase in full-year profit before tax and exceptional items to 192.3 million pounds, has been a big beneficiary of Help to Buy, which accounted for almost 30 percent of its reservations in the first 10 weeks of the current financial year.

The company said it had seen a 29.4 percent increase in average net private reservations across the group, while private forward sales were up 44.4 percent to 880.4 million pounds at September 8.

Its average selling price rose to 194,800 pounds from 180,500 a year ago.

At 8.29 a.m. British Time, shares in Barratt were up 0.1 percent, valuing the company at 3.26 billion pounds.

(Editing by Paul Sandle and David Holmes)