3 Homebuilders Profiting From a Stable Market
The housing market saw prices remain broadly stable, according to Bovis Homes' interim management statement this morning, though the firm's active sales outlets were up 12% compared with the previous year. The statement went on to comment, "With the significant increase in private average sales prices due to improving mix, the Group remains on track to deliver a strong increase in revenue in 2012."
Management at Bovis revised their expectations for the 2012 gross profit margin to increase to circa 22%, reflecting "the increasing proportion of homes sold on post-downturn sites." It has also improved its forecast for the year-end operating margin to about 13%, up from the previous year's figure of 10%.
The price of a share in Bovis Homes reacted accordingly, up 3 pence to 518.50 pence from the previous close of 515.50 pence at the time of writing.
Taylor Wimpey's share price remained largely unmoved on its news this morning after the builder confirmed it was on track with previous guidance in the aforementioned stable housing market. Sales rates in H2 2012 increased marginally from the same period last year, with an average net private reservation rate of 0.57 sales per outlet per week so far in 2012, compared with 0.56 in the equivalent period of 2011.
The company's order book remains healthy, with 1.11 billion pounds assigned for future completions looking good against November 2011's figure of 1.02 billion pounds. As with Bovis Homes, Taylor Wimpey's growth is being driven by its private order book. Management were in a confident mood regarding the future, stating, "With our value-focused strategy, further increased order book, high quality land portfolio and strong balance sheet, we remain well positioned for the future."
Much the same from Redrow in its interim management statement this morning, with sales per outlet marginally up at 0.58 per week, compared with 0.55 in 2011.
The company's number of operating outlets has increased from 72 in 2011 to 83 during 2012, which has resulted in "reservations for the year to date increasing by 17% in the regional businesses and 22% for the Group as a whole, including London."
Of the three builders releasing interims this morning, Redrow was the only one that saw a noticeable slide in its share price: it's down 1.5% to 156.3 pence. This is likely due to the market's reaction to news on recent takeover speculation, which saw management state:
On the 18th October Bridgemere Securities Limited, Toscafund Asset Management LLP and Penta Capital LLP issued a statement that they were not intending to make an offer for Redrow. This followed discussions with the Board about the preliminary expression of interest in relation to a possible offer. There are no discussions ongoing.
Foolish final thoughts
Homebuilders have been on a bit of a roll recently, and today's interim statements from the above three companies showed resilience during what are still tough economic times. However, many long-term investors still prefer to go for dependable, dividend-paying shares.
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