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Barratt says housing market healthy but increasingly reliant on help-to-buy

The builder noted that since the pandemic there had been a material change in loan to value (LTV) lending criteria.

Barratt Developments -

Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) has said customer demand for new houses remains strong and orders are healthy but increasingly buyers are relying on the government’s help-to-buy scheme.

The FTSE 100-listed housebuilder said average private sales per site in the period from July 1 to October 11, 2020, were almost 21% higher than a year ago at 0.87 a week.

Total house sales in the period rose 24% to 4,032 with orders 17% higher at 15,135 homes worth £3.65bn.

Barratt noted that assuming no further national lockdowns private sales of should total between 14,500 and 15,000 homes in the year to June 2021 with around a further 650 completions from joint ventures.

The builder added, though, that since the pandemic there had been a material change in loan to value (LTV) lending criteria.

“No mainstream mortgage lenders providing mortgages at 95% LTV for new-build homebuyers, increasing the reliance of first-time buyers on Help to Buy,” it said.

In the period stated, 51% of private reservations (2020: 45%) used Help to Buy, it said, of which 74% were first-time buyers (2020: 70%).

Barratt said it has resumed land buying again after suspending it during the lockdown and had earmarked 4,160 plots across 15 sites.

As of October 9, 2020. the group had £570mln of net cash and an undrawn credit facility of £700mln.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said: “These figures show that Covid-19 is not preventing the construction of new properties nor consumers’ willingness to make what could be the biggest financial transaction in their lives.

“The Government seems intent on finding ways to help people onto the housing ladder and that’s good news for Barratt whose customer base is heavily weighted towards first-time buyers.

“Boris Johnson has talked about a desire for banks to offer 95% mortgages with the Government potentially acting as a partial guarantor. We’re still short on detail but the Prime Minister seems to think this policy could create 2 million more homeowners. That’s music to the ears of a business like Barratt."

Shares rose 2.3% to 556.2p.

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Quick facts: Barratt Developments

Price: 664.4 GBX

LSE:BDEV
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £6.77 billion
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