Bovis Homes today announced that it has secured a new £220m banking facility until 2011, as predictions for the housing market get ever more gloomy.

The group, one of the more conservatively-run house builders, announced just before the close of stock market trading that has secured a new facility with its existing banks.

It said the new facility will include a `covenant package more appropriate for current trading’ at the same time as increased pricing from the banks to reflect their own new trading conditions.

Its statement came five days after Bovis’s bigger rival Taylor Wimpey updated the market on its new banking arrangements, with the group moving towards its debt covenants being waived.

There are fears that new housing starts could fall below 50,000 in 2009 – compared with the Government’s target of 240,000.

In an Interim Management Statement issued earlier in the autumn Bovis Homes said that in common with many house builders it had stopped buying land to conserve cash.

In the six months to June 30 it saw revenue tumble by £110m to £149m, and pre-tax profit slump from £58.4m to £11.7m.