Housebuilder set for 25% growth, says new boss

The new managing director of Miller Homes North West has set a target of 25% growth in unit output within "the next few years".

Sue Warwick, who was promoted from regional sales director, said: "Our objective in the North West is to grow the business from 800 units to 1000-plus units within the next few years. We are currently working on a strategic plan to will facilitate that and expect to achieve this principally through organic growth. This will build upon the rapid and impressive growth throughout Miller Homes in the past decade. We haven't calculated the time it will take to meet that target yet but it will be in the next few years."

Miller Homes, controlled by chairman Keith Miller, is the UK's largest privately-owned housebuilder. Nationwide turnover grew 750% in the past eight years with a 44% increase in the past year, from £490m in 2005 to £707m, in 2006. Annual completions grew from 2,801 to 3,960 in the same eight-year period, with Miller Homes North West making a substantial contribution to this growth as the group's largest regional division.

The group is "investing heavily" in expanding the land-buying budget for the North West to reflect its growing importance.

Warwick believes the company's regeneration-focused land assembly policy will help it overcome stringent planning moratoria and housing allocation limits around the North West.

She added: "Having a regeneration arm to our business is proving fruitful for us and a lot of the delivery areas spelled out in the Government's latest Regional Spatial Strategy are areas we have land in already."

Warwick said projections for the number of units due to be completed in 2007 were slightly down on the average of 800 at 750 which reflected the difficult year caused by rising interest rates and weakened consumer confidence.

"Last year we predicted this position and this marketplace so we have adjusted accordingly. The good news for us is that we have 92% of units secure through either reservations or better. Well over half of that stock is legally completed sales."

Miller Homes North West has 25 developments under way. Larger ones include Saxon Park and Urban Space, both in Warrington, Cavendish Gardens in Widnes, and Woodland Park in Darwen. The product ranges from one-bed apartments to five-bed houses and the average price for a Miller Homes North West unit is £160,000.

Warwick was joined by Barry Ludlow who was promoted to deputy managing director from financial director in the North West.

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