Morris Homes reports 15% profit increase

Wilmslow-based independent housebuilder Morris Homes has reported an 8% increase in revenue for the year ended 31 March 2011.

The company said turnover increased to £136m from £126m in 2010 and operating profit increased by 15% to £21.6m from £18.8m in the same period last year.

Morris said an increase in build activity across its core operating areas in the North West and Midlands helped it capitalise on continued strong demand for new family homes. The company completed 815 properties during the year, an increase of 20%, across 42 live developments.

Operating margins also improved from 14.9% to 15.9% during the year, due the company's ongoing strategy of acquiring land at attractive values and focus on product quality.

Mike Gaskell, managing director, said: "Morris has continued to benefit from strong demand for quality family homes in good locations. The ongoing imbalance between supply and demand means that we have seen modest selling price rises across most of our sites. We expect this upward trend to continue as mortgage finance becomes more accessible to first time buyers.

"A recent report by the Halifax indicated that buying a home is more affordable now than at any time in the last 12 years and we're seeing increased interest from people looking to switch from rental to home ownership.

"The positive momentum has continued into the current financial year, with reservations running 28% ahead of the same period last year.

"One of the main challenges facing Morris and other housebuilders continues to be the planning process, which is holding back much needed development. However, we have a strong track record of working with local authorities and communities to demonstrate the economic and social benefits that new housing can deliver."

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