There was a rare sigh of relief in the housebuilding sector yesterday as Barratt Developments reported reservations were down by only one-third since the start of the year and eschewed a rumoured rights issue. Financial Times, Daily Telegraph

In line with other builders, Barratt described 'a significant fall' in net reservations over the past six weeks, which Mark Clare, chief executive, estimated were down about 50% on the same period last year.

Total housebuilding revenues for the year to date were £825m, a fall of 7.6%, reflecting a relatively strong pipeline of buyers at the end of 2007.

Market rumours of a rights issue were effectively quashed as Barratt said it had paid down £200m of an £800m tranche of debt due for repayment next April and had agreed with its bankers in principle to refinance £400m for an additional two years.