Bovis Homes surprised the market yesterday with better than expected sales.

Reservations for Bovis houses in the 17 weeks to May 1 were up 71% on the same period last year, although this was partly because of exceptionally low sales last time.

Bovis was one of the last big house builders to cut prices in 2008, hoping that the housing downturn would be less severe than has proved to be the case. As rivals began to reduce prices and offer incentive schemes last year, its sales stalled.

Sales so far this year are down 25% from the same time in 2007, when house prices were continuing their seemingly inexorable rise. Last year, the house builder recorded a loss of £78.7 million and dismissed 60% of its UK staff.

The Times