The first national lockdown hit house-builders hard but Taylor Wimpey says that it returned to near normal levels of production capacity towards the end of 2020.
However, profits for the year are set to be just a third of what they were the previous year.
Total UK home completions (including joint ventures) decreased by 39% to 9,609 in 2020, due primarily to the impact on production capacity during the second quarter shutdown (2019: 15,719).
In a trading update ahead of publication of annual results, Taylor Wimpey said that its 2020 results would be ‘in line with market expectations’, which suggests an operating profit of around £293m, compared to £850m in 2019 and £880m in 2018.
However, with demand for new homes remaining strong, the company ended 2020 with a total order book valued at £2,684m (2019: £2,176m), excluding joint ventures, which represents 10,685 homes (2019: 9,725 homes).
Other good news is that build cost inflation has remained lower than in recent years, it said, and – so far, at least – it has not experienced any significant supply chain issues associated with Brexit.
Chief executive Pete Redfern said: “While operations were impacted by the shutdown period in the second quarter, the subsequent return to near normal construction capacity and continuing resilience of the UK housing market enabled sales and production to recover strongly towards the end of the year. We increased new investment in land in the second half of the year as high quality land became available at attractive margins.
“We start the year with an excellent order book and ongoing focus on strengthening the business and improving margins. This will position Taylor Wimpey well to deliver strong and reliable returns for our stakeholders over the medium term.”