- House builder Taylor Wimpey booked an 18% rise in annual profit as it completed more properties and improved its margins.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December rose to £810.7m, as revenue climbed 2.9% to £4.08bn.

Home completions rose 2.9% to 15,275, while operating margins improved to 21.6%, up from 21.3%.

Dividends worth £499.5m were paid in 2018 and the company stuck to its forecast for dividends worth around £600m to be paid in 2019.

At 31 December, the company's forward order book comprised 8,304 units, up from 7,136 a year earlier.

Taylor Wimpey said it had made a 'positive' start to 2019, with consumer confidence remaining 'robust'.

The net private sales rate for the year to date was 0.99, up from 0.82 on-year.

The rate included a forward build and sales contract that was entered into simultaneously with a large land purchase, reducing market risk.

The underlying net private sales rate, excluding that deal, was 0.90.

'We have continued to prioritise building a strong order book for the future, which is particularly important in an uncertain market, whilst ensuring we are managing our customers' timing and meeting their requirements,' the company added.

'As at 24 February 2019, we were around 47% forward sold for private completions for 2019, with a total order book value of £2.17bn, up from £1.96bn on-year.'

'In current market conditions, we continue to expect stable volumes in 2019 and for underlying build cost increases during 2019 to be at a similar level to 2018, at around 3-4%.'

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