Redrow, the housebuilder, has cut back on plans to deliver 2,000 of its Debut starter homes a year, in a blow to government efforts to help first-time buyers on to the property ladder. The Financial Times. The Times
Neil Fitzsimmons, the chief executive, blamed the government’s latest planning guidelines for Redrow’s inability to build as many Debut homes as it had hoped. Fitzsimmons said in 2005 that the board was aiming to build 2,000 Debut homes a year ‘within five years’, but figures for the year to 30 June showed the company had sold only 500 homes.
‘The response we have had in planning has not been as positive as we had hoped. The growth element is still positive – we will have 20% more growth in Debut next year,’ Fitzsimmons said.
‘Our role has to be to go out and find the sites and the products which get the best returns. A focus on Debut may not be the best use of our resources.’
Redrow, which is one of the country’s biggest housebuilders, said consumer caution was starting to affect the UK housing market.
’The effect of the succession of base rate rises since August 2006, coupled with remaining uncertainties over interest rates and debt markets, appear to be influencing consumer confidence and the housing markets as we move into the autumn selling season,’ said Neil Fitzsimmons, chief executive.
Pretax profits were flat at £120.5m for the year to 30 June, while revenues edged up 3% from £770.1m to £795.7m.
The housebuilder is also putting up for sale its share in a loss-making joint venture with Corus that makes quick-fit steel frames for new houses, as part of a refocus back to mainstream home-building.