Bovis Homes has been forced to sell hundreds of unwanted houses to the Government, it emerged yesterday in further evidence of weakness in the property market. The developer sold 379 homes in the South-west, West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England in an £18m deal with the Government to provide affordable housing for poor families on waiting lists.

Local housing associations will provide additional funding for the properties. Bovis last night refused to say how much each property was sold for.

David Ritchie, chief executive of Bovis Homes, said: 'I can confirm that these properties have been sold at a discount to market value. It was important for us to sell surplus stock while returning a positive margin.'

The Independent