(Recasts, adds quotes)
LONDON Jan 12 Barratt, Britain's
biggest housebuilder, might build fewer homes in the current
financial year, its chief executive said on Thursday, with high
land prices having hit the number of properties completed in
The British government last year announced initiatives worth
billions of pounds to try to increase housebuilding after
previous administrations failed to ensure supply kept up with
demand, pricing many people out of the market.
Barratt, which said pre-tax profit is expected to rise by 7
percent to 315 million pounds ($385 million) in the six months
to the end of December, built 6 percent fewer homes in the
period despite government efforts to support the industry.
Shares in the company fell 2 percent to 490 pence by 0855
Barratt, which built 17,319 homes in its financial year to
June 2016, said that figure could fall in 2016-17 after a drop
of more than 50 percent in the number of homes it built in the
capital over the past six months.
"In London in the last two or three years... it's become an
increasingly competitive land market," Chief Executive David
Thomas told Reuters.
"There's been a lot of purchasers and that's been a key
driver as to why we've not been able to buy land," he said,
adding that has filtered through into the number of homes the
firm has built, particularly in the city centre.
When asked whether the firm would build more homes overall
this year across the country, Thomas said: "It's going to be
pretty marginal. Probably flat or possibly slightly down."
The firm has also had to discount the price of some of its
top-end London homes by up to 10 percent following a property
tax rise and the Brexit vote which have both hit demand for
properties in the capital's priciest postcodes.
($1 = 0.8172 pounds)
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Sarah Young/Keith Weir)