Taylor Wimpey said that it had paid down debt and was on track to reach an agreement with its lenders before the house builder’s covenants are tested at the end of March.

However, the house builder warned that the housing market remained “very challenging” following a year in which home sales sank by more than a third and it made a third of its UK workforce redundant.

In a trading statement covering the year to 31 December, Taylor Wimpey warned that it would probably have to make further asset write downs in 2009.

Shares in the company, down 96% from their 2007 peak, fell 6p to 19p on disappointment that the trading statement contained no specific details of the refinancing plans.

The company reduced net debt by £300m to £1.55bn in the six months to December 2008, although adverse currency fluctuations from its international operations wiped out £200m of this saving.

Taylor Wimpey has urged banks to offer more loans and pass on interest rate cuts to help the property industry, which is suffering its worst conditions in 30 years.

Financial Times, The times, Daily Telegraph