July 29, 2020 / 7:07 AM / 7 days ago

UPDATE 1-UK's Taylor Wimpey predicts 40% drop in home completions this year

(Adds details on housing market, background)

July 29 (Reuters) - Taylor Wimpey Plc expects to complete around 40% fewer homes in 2020, the British builder said on Wednesday as it reported a 40 million pound loss for the first half due to coronavirus-driven site closures.

The country’s third-largest homebuilder, which has operations across the UK and Spain, said it expects the crisis to have a significant impact on 2020 revenues and margins and some knock on impact on 2021 delivery.

“COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on production activity and therefore completion levels for the first half of 2020,” Taylor Wimpey said.

The housing market, crucial to a credit-fuelled boom in UK domestic demand stretching back two decades, has been recovering steadily since grinding to a halt in lockdowns in March.

Developers are also hopeful that finance minister Rishi Sunak’s tax exemption for property purchases up to 500,000 pounds, will give the market a boost.

FTSE-100 listed Taylor Wimpey said total completed sales were down 58% so far this year but that its total order book value was up 23% from a year ago at 2,904 million pounds as of June 28.

It reported a pretax loss of 39.8 million pounds ($51.44 million) for the six months ended June 30 compared with a profit of 299.8 million pounds last year.

$1 = 0.7737 pounds Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Patrick Graham

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