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February 27, 2008    

Barratt chief predicts flat housing market into 2009

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by Gill Montia
”Barratt

The head of Barratt Developments, one of the UK’s largest housebuilders, is expecting house prices to remain flat for the next 18 months, stating: “I am expecting something like flat prices for the full financial year [to the end of June], and I wouldn’t assume it would be very different in the next financial year.”

Barratt’s chief executive, Mark Clare, is calling for further interest rate cuts to support the market, having seen conditions improve slightly since the two most recent cuts in the base rate.

The company’s forward order book is now 7% lower than it was 12 months ago, at £1.62 billion, and visitors to its showrooms fell 26% in the first-half of the financial year and 13% in the first seven weeks of the second-half.

The group’s first-half profits rose 10.2%, to £194.6 million, having been boosted by its acquisition of Wilson Bowden, in April of last year.

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