BOVIS, the Kent-based housebuilder, was cautious about sales prospects in the coming year when it announced today that profit margins remained strong.
In a trading update ahead of publication of annual results for year ending December 31, the company, headquartered in New Ash Green, said that activity in the housing market appeared to have slowed, with lower rates of house price growth and a reduction in mortgage approvals.
"Given the rapid rate of emergence of these trends and an expectation that interest rate cuts will continue, the outlook for 2008 is not clear at present," the company said.
Its business was conducted, it said, against a backdrop of declining consumer confidence, strongly influenced by events in the banking and financial markets over the second half of 2007.
But it had focused on maintaining margins and expected operating profit to be much the same as last year.
The group said 2008 forward sales stood at 816 reservations, down 19 per cent on the same time a year ago, but 23 per cent ahead of the comparable position on December 31, 2005.
ovis remained optimistic about longer-term prospects. "This confidence is fuelled by the well publicised supply and demand dynamic in the UK housing market and the support and encouragement that the Government is providing to the housebuilding sector in its efforts to drive the house building activity necessary to support the development of the UK economy going forward."