Housebuilding giant says market ‘weakened’ following Bank of England interest rate rise

Taylor Wimpey has reported a 43% fall in pre-tax profit as it battled rising costs and planning delays.

The housebuilding giant, in its half-year results for the six months to 2 July, reported pre-tax profit of £237.7m, down on the £414.5m reported for the same period the previous year.

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Its turnover fell by 21.% to £1.64bn, while its profit margin dropped from 20.4% to 14.4%.

Taylor Wimpey said it had an “encouraging start” to the year with demand in the spring recovering from the low levels seen at the end of 2022 and with mortgage rates reducing.

However, it said this has changed in recent months.

It said: “Market conditions weakened in the second quarter as the Bank of England responded to higher than expected inflation by increasing the base rate from 4.5% to 5% in June, which drove an increase in the cost of mortgages towards the end of the half.”

The housebuilder said the drop in profit margin was due to a “lower level of completions and the impact of build cost inflation which was not fully offset by house price inflation for the period”.

Taylor Wimpey’s completions fell from 6,922 to 5,120 homes year-on-year while its sales rate dipped from 0.90 homes per outlet per week to 0.71. It said its average selling price increased by 6.7% to £320,000.

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The housebuilder opened 13 new outlets in the half year, down from 50 the previous year, which it said reflected “reduced land buying and owing to the difficulties in the planning system.”

It said: “The planning backdrop remains extremely challenging and is likely to impact industry delivery of new homes. There continues to be widespread bottlenecks in an under resourced planning system leading to a significant backlog of applications.”

Despite the fall in completions, Taylor Wimpey said it expects to complete between 10,000 to 10,500 homes this year, which would be at the upper end of its previous forecast.