Housebuilder reports 13% increase in revenue and jump in completions despite planning restricting outlet openings

Bellway said it has increased revenue to a record £3.5bn, despite the planning system remaining ‘slow’.

The giant housebuilder, in a trading update for the year to 31 July, reported a 13% increase in revenue for the year from £3.1bn to £3.5bn.

It said it grew its housing completions by 10.5% to 11,198 homes, up from 10,138 the previous year, while its average selling price increased 2.6% to £314,400. 

Bellway Purley Way

Bellway is planning to build 168-homes on the site of Purley Way Lido in Croydon

Bellway however said the planning system has restricted its opening of outlets, with the housebuilder operating from 235 sites as of 31 July, compared to 254 the previous year and 276 in 2020.

It said: “The planning system remains slow, constrained by a COVID-related backlog and increasing complexities around biodiversity and nutrient neutrality regulations. This has continued to restrict the pace of outlet openings across the wider sector”.

However, the firm said its “proactive” land investment means it should be able to grow its number of outlets in the year ahead. Bellway invested £1.3bn in 19,089 new plots in the year.

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Bellway said the cost of meeting the fire safety ‘developer pledge’, under which it has pledged to fix ‘life-critical’ fire safety issues on its own blocks over 11 metres going back 30 years, remains unchanged at around £300m, which is on top of £186.8m already set aside for fire safety.

The housebuilder also said it increased its underlying operating margin from 17% to 18.5%. The short trading update gave no indication about pre tax profit for the year.

Bellway’s preliminary results will be published on 18 October.