A HOUSEBUILDER is creating more than 1,000 workers after recording a five-year sales high.

Barratt Developments told The Northern Echo it wants a number of North-East apprentices, graduates and trainees to capitalise on buyers' increasing confidence.

The move comes after Barratt, founded by North-East property tycoon, Sir Lawrie Barratt, revealed 6,195 completed sales in the half-year to December 31, a 19 per cent rise on the 5,194 recorded in the same period in 2012.

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It said revenues increased 33 per cent to £1.26bn, with pre-tax profits rising 162 per cent to £120.4m and total forward sales up 56 per cent to £1.74bn.

The housebuilder said it wants new workers to compliment the 3,000 jobs it has created in the last 12 months as it seeks to meet rising demand generated by the Government's Help to Buy scheme.

It previously revealed plans to build about 45,000 houses across the UK in the next three years.

Mark Clare, Barratt Developments' group chief executive, said: “Underpinning our strong performance is an improved market and a business model delivering homes that people want to buy in places they want to live.

“Our approach means we have been able to increase the number of new homes we are building while driving up profits.

“This Our momentum has continued into 2014 with sales rates well above last year and forward sales of £1.7bn.

“That's why we are expanding our recruitment drive for 1,100 apprentices, graduates and trainees, which demonstrates our commitment to further growth.”

Last year, Barratt bosses said people had lined the streets to get the first homes on its 295-house development in Nunthorpe, near Middlesbrough.

The firm added its £2.6bn decision to target cheap land during the recession helped increase revenues and profits, with its annual results showing pre-tax profits had risen to £104.8m from £100m for the year to June 30.

Barratt's results were released as rival Redrow, which has a three and four-bedroom home development in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, said its pre-tax profits increased 107 per cent to £47.5m.

Chairman Steve Morgan said private reservations since January were up 24 per cent on last year.

He said: “We expect the housing market to remain robust and for consumer confidence to improve in line with the economy.”