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Housebuilder Bellway returns to land buying

Joanna Bourke
Bellway Construction site Press image from housebuilder Bellway
Bellway Construction site Press image from housebuilder Bellway

Bellway has “cautiously” resumed land buying, encouraged by the improved sales market, the housebuilder said on Tuesday.

With the onset of Covid-19, the FTSE 250 firm’s board initially introduced a moratorium on all new land contracts, with the intention of preserving liquidity until market conditions became clearer.

Like rivals, it closed construction sites and sales offices in March for the Covid-19 lockdown, and Bellway said agreed home sales in the year to July 31 fell 31% to 7,522.

But the government has since moved to help boost the market. In May it said estate agents’ offices and show homes could reopen, and viewings were permitted.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also announced a suspension of stamp duty on property sales of up to £500,000 until March 2021, and a two-month extension to the Help to Buy scheme in England has been offered.

Bellway’s chief executive Jason Honeyman said: “We have started to see the market pick up again with private reservations in July not far behind last year. The extension of help to buy and stamp duty holiday was critical in helping people come back to the market. We are in a good position to grow as the economy and housing market recovers, but it’s important that we do so cautiously as the outlook is still very uncertain.”

The firm said it has “cautiously” entered into agreements to purchase an additional 14 sites, of which some are in greater London.

Read more

Estate agents see jump in enquiries after stamp duty changes announced