February 7, 2019 / 7:26 AM / a year ago

Bellway expects to sell more homes in 2019 amid Brexit uncertainty

FILE PHOTO: A man works at a Bellway housing development in London, Britain October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

(Reuters) - British homebuilder Bellway Plc said on Thursday it expects to sell more homes in fiscal 2019 even as Brexit uncertainties plague the market.

Britain’s housing market has slowed since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, with house prices rising a mere 0.1 percent in annual terms in January, according to data from mortgage lender Nationwide.

The company said that early signs suggest that customer demand and reservations would follow their usual seasonal trend, but cautioned the UK’s impending exit from the European Union may affect wider customer confidence.

In fiscal 2018, the company had sold a record of 10,307 new homes. Bellway also said although the rate of house price inflation continues to moderate, it expects prices for cheaper homes to modestly increase across the country.

Bellway, among Britain’s top five by market value, had launched a cost savings program in October after it warned that slowing home price growth would hit margins.

The company expects operating margin to fall slightly to 21.5 percent in the first six months to Jan. 31 from 22.2 percent.

Total revenue is expected to rise more than 12 percent to nearly 1.5 billion pounds, with house completions rising 5.6 percent and average selling price rising 6.5 percent.

Bellway said order book fell to 1,171 million pounds at the end of the first half from 1,297 million pounds.

Reporting by Adil Bhat and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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