Barratt Developments has revealed the scale of the damage wrought by the coronavirus crisis as full-year profits at one of Britain’s biggest homebuilders almost halved.

Pre-tax profits at the group, the first major builder to publish results covering the UK government lockdown period, tumbled 46 per cent to £492m in the 12 months to the end of June. The company built almost a third fewer homes — 12,604 compared with 17,865 last year — and made less money on each. 

The pandemic also led to £74m in direct costs, with most of that spent on implementing safety measures. But the crisis took a far larger toll on revenues, which fell 28 per cent to £3.4bn from a year earlier.

David Thomas, Barratt chief executive, said there was reason for “cautious optimism” and that the company was seeing strong demand from customers. Construction work resumed on all sites by the end of June.

The quick rebound in sales after lockdown restrictions were eased means the company has orders in place for 15,660 homes, more than the 13,064 it had at the same point last year.

Shares in Barratt jumped 5 per cent in early trading on Wednesday.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said that the “exceptionally strong” trading in Barratt’s new financial year meant that the builder would probably resume paying a dividend soon.

The government’s introduction of a stamp duty holiday, which will save home buyers up to £15,000, was “an important intervention” said the company. The measure, which started in July and runs until March 2021, has encouraged buyers to the market, according to various estate agents.

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