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Bovis Rises to Highest Since July 2007 on First-Half Profit

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Bovis Homes Group Plc rose to the highest in almost six years after the U.K. homebuilder said it had a “significant improvement” in first-half profit as sales volumes and prices beat the company’s expectations.

Bovis was up 55 pence, or 7.1 percent, to 830 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, the highest since July 2007. That brought this year’s gain to about 44 percent.

“Trading in the first half of 2013 has been strong and the group has achieved a 40 percent increase in private reservations compared to the same period in 2012,”  Chief Executive Officer David Ritchie said in a statement today.

The housing market has shown signs of a “strong” improvement, helped by the government’s Help to Buy loan program, Bovis said. In the six months ended June 30, Bovis completed 963 homes compared with 944 a year earlier, the Longfield, England-based company said. The average selling price of a Bovis home increased 15 percent to 188,500 pounds ($281,000), according to the statement.

Prime Minister David Cameron is using homebuilding to help stimulate the economy, with the government in March announcing that it would offer an equity loan of as much as 20 percent of the value of a newly built home valued at 600,000 pounds or less. The Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme also eased home lending as the government has tried to bolster housing by simplifying planning laws.

The Bloomberg EMEA Home Builders Index has gained 37 percent this year, led by Persimmon Plc with a 70 percent advance. Bovis, which will report half-year results on Aug. 19, has had the index’s fifth-best increase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeffrey St.Onge in London at jstonge@bloomberg.net

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

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