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Taylor Wimpey Margins Climb as Government Backs Homebuyers

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July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Taylor Wimpey Plc, the U.K’s second-largest homebuilder by volume, said first-half profit margin increased as the government’s Help to Buy loan program lifted demand for homes.

Operating profit margin in the U.K. was more than 13 percent, up from 11.2 percent a year earlier, the High Wycombe, England-based company, said today in a statement. More than 1,000 customers reserved homes using the government’s Help to Buy loans and a further 232 are seeking approval, Taylor Wimpey said.

“We have welcomed signs of significant improvement in the housing market in the first six months of 2013,” Chief Executive Peter Redfern said in the statement. “We have seen increased consumer confidence, underpinned by both generally improved access to and affordability of mortgage finance and by the recent government measures.”

Help to Buy, introduced in March, provides loans of as much as 20 percent for homes valued at 600,000 pounds ($914,000) or less. The loans are available at 98 percent of Taylor Wimpey outlets and have resulted in more visitors, the company said.

The average selling price increased to 187,000 pounds from 176,000 pounds a year earlier. Taylor Wimpey’s order book, excluding completions and joint ventures, stood at 1.3 billion pounds at June 30. Net debt fell to about 70 million pounds from 135 million pounds a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Gower in London at pgower@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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