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Barratt Developments Plc  Join Persimmon and Bovis homes , as the third national house builder this week, announcing pretax profit surge,  by 40% for the first half of its financial year to December 31, after it sold more houses at higher prices, which appears to be continuing into its second half.

The FTSE 100 house-builder posted pretax profit of GBP295.0 million, up from GBP210.2 million for the first half of its previous financial year, whilst revenue was boosted in the half to GBP1.88 billion from GBP1.58 billion, up 19%.

Barratt sold a total of 7,626 homes in the six months to the end of December, up from 6,971 a year earlier, at an average selling price of GBP254,000, up 11% from the GBP229,200 average price in the first half of the prior financial year.

The housebuilder announced an interim dividend of 6.0 pence per share, up from 4.8 pence per share the previous year. Barratt said that under its capital return plan it expects to return a total of 67.8 pence per share over the two-year period to November 2017.

Barratt said its total forward sales were up by 13% at GBP2.58 billion on February 21, and it now expects to have a net cash balance in excess of GBP250.0 million on June 30.

The company said Wednesday it has started the second half strongly, with net private reservations per week of 260 at a rate of 0.71 net private reservations per active site per week.

"In line with our strategy, we have stepped up the number of completions in the first half and we did this in a disciplined way, both financially and operationally, without compromising on the quality of the homes we're building," said Chief Executive David Thomas.

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