- House builder Taylor Wimpey hiked its FY pretax profit to £732.9m, from £603.2m, in what it said was an excellent performance against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty.

Revenue was £3.7bn, from £3.1bn.

The company said it had made a very good start to 2017 and was encouraged by robust trading and levels of demand. The UK housing market fundamentals remain good with strong customer confidence in core geographies.

"The market is underpinned by a competitive mortgage market and low interest rates.

"Customer interest remains high, with website visits solid and customers continuing to register interest in forthcoming developments and progress their home purchase plans," said Taylor Wimpey.

"Whilst the wider London market remains robust, prime central London is softer, as previously highlighted, however, house prices are stable, and there are good levels of underlying demand."

The net private sales rate for the year to date (w/e 19 February 2017) has increased to a very strong 0.91 (2016 equivalent period: 0.77).

Taylor Wimpey said it was continuing to focus on building a strong order book for the future.

As of February 19, it was about 49% forward sold for private completions for 2017, with a total order book value of £1.98bn, excluding joint ventures.

"This order book represents 8,573 homes (2016 equivalent period: 8,409). 58% of Central London private completions for 2017 are forward sold, as at 19 February 2017 (2016 equivalent period: 76%)," it said, adding it welcomed the measures set out in the housing white paper.

"We expect underlying build cost increases during 2017 to be at a similar level to 2016, at around 3%-4%."

Taylor Wimpey said the early signs of stability and resilience of the market following the EU referendum, which were encouraging, continued and it believed the risk of material impact from this in the short term has significantly reduced.

"In line with our strategy, we will continue to closely monitor market risks, particularly around long term mortgage cost. However we believe that a cautiously regulated market and low interest rate environment is likely to prolong the period of stability that we are seeing in the UK housing market."

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