PROLONGED demand fuelled by competitive mortgage deals and Government support has helped push a housebuilder’s sales higher.

Barratt Developments says buyers’ enduring clamour to climb the ladder leaves it well-placed to deliver fresh growth.

The business, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, yesterday revealed stronger half-year sales and a greater forward order book, with bosses confirming it has also secured swathes of land for development.

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According to latest figures, sales stood at 7,324, compared to 7,180 a year ago, with total forward sales two per cent better off at £2.38bn, or 10,921 plots.

Its average selling price increased 6.5 per cent to £281,000.

Founded in the late 1950s when tycoon Sir Lawrie Barratt built his own home in Newcastle, the company has developments across the North-East, including estates in Spennymoor and Consett, County Durham.

Referring to its latest financial results, which cover the period to December 31, David Thomas, chief executive, said the firm had benefited from a fertile market, citing Government policy, including Help to Buy, as an important driver.

He said: “The group has delivered a strong first-half performance, with good customer demand driven by a positive market.

“The land market also remains favourable, and we have secured attractive land opportunities.

“Given good demand and our healthy forward order book, we expect to deliver modest growth in wholly-owned sales in the financial year.”

The business includes the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands, the latter of which is building the Five Acres development, in Barnard Castle, County Durham; The Drive at Mount Oswald, on the outskirts of Durham City; and The Grove, based at Wynyard, near Billingham.