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House prices and forward sales up, says Barratt

House prices and forward sales increased during the last six months of 2009, Barratt reveals today.

In a trading update for the six months to December 31, 2009, the homebuilder said total average selling prices increased by 4 per cent to £167,000, while total forward sales were up 43 per cent to £651.2m on the previous year.

Completions for the first half were down to 5,028, from 6,905 during the same period the previous year.

Barratt also reduced its debt to around £610m from July to December, down from £1.3bn at 30 June 2009.

The statement says the group will incur “exceptional” costs in the first half of this year of around £130m, up from £512.4m during the same period in 2008.

Barratt group chief executive Mark Clare says: “Over the last six months we have successfully refinanced the business, reduced debt and invested in land which will deliver higher returns.  With margins growing and a 43% increase in total forward sales, the market has improved but is still subject to the major uncertainties of both mortgage finance and the general economic outlook.”

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