Britain's Bellway resumes dividend as home orders surge

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FILE PHOTO: General view of Bellway housing development site in Apsley
FILE PHOTO: General view of Bellway housing development site in Apsley

(Reuters) - Homebuilder Bellway <BWY.L> said on Tuesday it had seen a strong start to its new financial year and was resuming dividend payments thanks to a recovery in the housing market following this year's coronavirus-driven halt in building and sales.

Bellway said its forward order book jumped 43% year-on-year as demand for homes picked up after the initial round of lockdowns and added that it expects to increase the quantum of future dividend payments over time.

"Aside from the constraints to trading activity as a result of COVID-19, the market remained strong for good quality, affordably priced homes," the company said.

The company, which builds everything from one-bedroom apartments to six-bedroom family homes, said that production levels are improving and are currently between 85% and 90% of the prior year.

Bellway said it expects to complete the sale of around 9,000 homes at an expected average selling price of around 290,000 pounds for the year ending July 31, 2021.

A surge in Britain's housing market pushed up asking prices for homes this month by the most in more than four years, with buyers ready to pay a premium for larger properties after their lockdown experience this year, a survey showed on Monday.

Bellway said housing completions fell by nearly a third for the year ended July 31, and pretax profit fell to 236.7 million pounds compared to 662.6 million pounds reported last year.

(Reporting by Samantha Machado and Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)