Edinburgh's Miller Homes builds UK footprint as earnings rise

Chief executive Chris Endsorhailed Miller Homes' disciplined approach to land buying. Picture: contributed
Chief executive Chris Endsorhailed Miller Homes' disciplined approach to land buying. Picture: contributed
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Housebuilder Miller Homes said it is focused on growing its UK footprint as it invested significantly in land and delivered a double-digit rise in profits in the first half.

The Edinburgh-headquartered group said it overcame "unprecedented political uncertainty" to record a 10 per increase in operating profit to £77.8 million in the six months to 30 June, up from £71m in the same period last year.

Miller's owned landbank increased by 5 per cent to 9,668 plots with the group acquiring 12 sites at a cost of £94m, which it claimed demonstrated confidence in its regional markets.

The housebuilder's new Teesside region is set to launch in the second half of the year and will become fully operational from the start of 2020. This follows its new West Midlands region established 18 months ago.

Forward sales reached record levels in the first half, climbing 7 per cent to £368m.

Although Miller recorded a drop in the average selling price fell from £248,000 to £243,000, which it attributed to the sale of 89 lower value units in a legacy development, operating margin held steady at 20 per cent.

Reiterating the sentiment from an update in March, the group said it remains on track to achieve its target of 4,000 homes by 2021.

Chief executive Chris Endsor said: “To have delivered an operating margin of 20 per cent demonstrates the resilience of our regional markets and the group’s disciplined approach to land buying and cost control.

"Customer demand has remained strong set against a backdrop of competitive mortgage rates but just as importantly an overwhelming need for many of our customers to acquire a new home.

"The other key focus areas for the business remain customer satisfaction and employee engagement and in relation to both, we continue to perform strongly. Our customer satisfaction scores continues to exceed 90 per cent and a recent employee survey has confirmed that 94 per cent are positively engaged in the business.

"Our regional proposition, supported by significant land investment, excellent build quality and customer service delivered by a highly engaged workforce mean that we are on track to achieve 4,000 homes by 2021.”