In the year to the end of July, Bellway completed sales of 4,922 units; four years ago the figure was a record 7,638 units. Last year's figure was itself an advance of only 7% over the previous year, a time heavily impacted by economic uncertainties around the election. Welcome to the new normal, then. Bellway, like other builders, has responded by concentrating on the South East, a market that has been helped by the weaker pound and an influx of buyers from outside the UK, and building more higher-margin family homes elsewhere and fewer pokey flats. But most of the North remains difficult, and the company has its roots in the North East. Bellway shares have outperformed this autumn as the market took the improved performance on board and are now 25% ahead of their low in late August. This puts them on an earnings multiple for this year of almost 13; there seems little reason to chase at this level, says the Times. [19 Oct '11]
Bellway was the top riser after it saw its full-year profits come in ahead of market expectations. Profit before tax in the year to the end of July hit £67.2m, up from £44.4m in 2010 and higher than the consensus forecast of £63.8m. [18 Oct '11]
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