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Barratt Sales Climb as Help-to-Buy Fuels Property Demand

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Barratt Developments Plc, the third-largest U.K. homebuilder by market value, sold 19 percent more homes in the first half of its fiscal year as buyers took advantage of government programs to boost lending.

Barratt sold 6,195 homes in the six months ending Dec. 31, up from 5,194 a year earlier, the Leicestershire, England-based company said in a statement today. The average selling price climbed about 14 percent to 211,000 pounds ($345,000).

U.K. homebuilders are benefiting from programs introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government to make it easier for property buyers to borrow money as the economy recovers from a recession. The latest, called Help-to-Buy, led to the biggest increase in home values since 2006 last year and enabled construction companies including Barratt and Persimmon Plc, its biggest U.K. competitor, to sell more homes.

“We’re seeing a very broad balanced recovery, with sales rates up in every region that we operate,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Clare said by phone. “There is much, much stronger demand.”

Barratt said purchasers used Help-to-Buy in 29 percent of the home sales the company completed during the reporting period.

The improving housing market helped the Bloomberg U.K. Homebuilders Index of 10 stocks climb 59 percent during 2013, led by Redrow Plc. Barratt rose 68 percent in that period and now has a market value of 3.7 billion pounds.

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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