Housebuilder Bellway has announced record half-year pretax profits for the six months to 31 January of £100.8m - up nearly 15%. The Times. Daily Telegraph. Financial Times

Average house prices were up 4% to £173,000 and Bellway said there was fierce competition for homes priced at under £250,000, particularly in London and the Thames Gateway. It pointed to a 'stable but competitive' housebuilding market, although it cautioned it was not experiencing the 9% house price inflation signalled by mortgage lenders.

'The feeding frenzy of a few years ago has ended,' said John Watson, Bellway chief executive. 'The market could not have kept pushing two or three times wage inflation. For the growth to be sustainable, there had to be a bit of a slowdown and that has to be good for the long-term health of the sector.'

'There are too many high-rise apartment buildings in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester so we are moving away from this type of product,' he added.