HOUSEBUILDER Bellway said higher sales and robust house prices boosted first-half revenues by 41 per cent, as strong buyer demand helped its orderbook swell to £783m.

The housebuilder, which has benefited from an upturn in the wider housing market since the government extended help to buyers, said housing revenue over the six months to the end of January increased £690m.

It completed the sale of 3,245 homes over the period, up 25 per cent on last year, and said the average selling price of homes rose 13 percent to 212,000 pounds on the back of the sale of a number of particularly high value London flats.

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The firm, whihc has a base in Gateshead, said it had taken an average of 137 reservations per week in the period since Aug 1. Its orderbook at Jan. 31 comprised 3,836 units, representing an increase in value of almost 73 per cent to £783m.

The company said it expected to achieve an operating margin of more than 15 percent for the period thanks to the growing proportion of completions from higher margin land.

It also said it had invested £240m in land in the six months, adding that its low debt level of £16m, along with bank facilities, would allow it to continue acquiring.