20 April 2018
FTSE 250, Newcastle-based home-builder Bellway Homes have grown from a small, family-owned firm into one of the UK’s largest construction companies over the past 70 years.
Now directly employing more than 2,000 people, despite this large customer base Bellway have managed to maintain an excellent reputation as a trustworthy developer with customer service at the forefront of their values. The recent Home Builders’ satisfaction survey saw Bellway amongst those developers most highly rated. Nine out of ten of Bellway customers would recommend their new-builds to a friend or family member.
2018 has bought many challenges to the construction industry, due to the weakening of the pound bought along by impending Brexit talks, as well as the industry-wide issue of material shortages (such as bricks and roof tiles). Bellway’s chief operating officer, Jason Honeyman, explained that these shortages are being worsened by a larger demand for bricks in the recent months after the Grenfell Tower fire, as construction builders seek alternatives to cladding. Building costs have heightened due to the weakened pound, and Bellway’s own costs have risen from 3% in the first half and this is likely to continue in the second half. Honeyman said bricks and roof tiles had risen even more in price, by 6-7%.
Yet Bellway have defied the odds; the number of houses sold have increased by 6.3% since January last year, selling a total of 4,741 houses in the first half of its financial year to the end of January. It has put the house-builder on course to complete a record number of houses in the full year to the end of July, as consumer confidence is “seemingly unaffected by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the forthcoming exit from the EU”, the company said. The average selling price of a Bellway home was £275,945 in the first half, up 7.7%.
“The group has invested significantly in land to achieve future growth, in a market place in which customer demand is robust and mortgage availability remains good,” said John Watson, Bellway’s executive chairman. “This positive trading environment, together with a substantial order book, bodes well for the full year and should enable the group to complete in excess of 10,000 new homes.” The company said its nationwide presence and lower price had insulated it from the slump in London, where would-be buyers have found themselves priced out of the market.
Bellway’s announcement that they are on track to build 10,000 homes this year is great news for new home-buyers and the construction sector.
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