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by administrator @, Thursday, February 09, 2012, 16:26

Two major house builders have posted upbeat results and remain confident about the future.

Bellway has reported a rise in sales and said the housing market remained "resilient" ahead of the key spring selling season. The UK's fourth biggest housebuilder said completions rose 5% to 2,455 in the six months to January 31, driven by a 15% rise in private sales.

And an increase in its order book means the group has now completed or reserved 83% of its target for the full-year. The higher proportion of private sales helped the average selling price rise 8.7% to about £183,000 with further increases expected in its second half.

With visitor levels up by around 20% since the start of January despite tough comparisons with the previous year, the group said "early indications are that the housing market remains resilient".

Shares were up 3% after it said the Government-backed Mortgage Indemnity Scheme, to be launched in March to encourage mortgage lending on newly built homes, also underpinned its optimism.

Meanwhile, St Modwen plans to press ahead with a strong pipeline of work despite concerns about growing uncertainty in the commercial and housing markets.

Announcing pre-tax profits up a third to £50m, the developer said it was on course to deliver further growth this year in spite of the Eurozone crisis denting confidence, particularly in office work.

Bill Oliver, chief executive of St.Modwen, said: "We have had a very successful year despite the challenges posed by the market conditions, significantly growing profits and completing transactions across the portfolio, and we have the foundations in place to deliver very good results in 2012.

"Our commercial developments in progress together with our active house building sites will deliver property profits to underpin our results for 2012 and beyond.

"We can also see clear opportunities to add value to our assets through the planning process and our active management of our income producing portfolio is producing a resilient income stream. Although the wider economic environment remains unpredictable and there may still be further challenges for the sector we are confident that our asset portfolio and development pipeline will provide us with many opportunities to add significant value for our shareholders."

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