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Aberdeen housing market delivers for Cala Group

Alan Brown
Alan Brown

Cala Group chief executive Alan Brown said yesterday a “stable” Aberdeen market continued to generate good business for the upmarket housebuilder.

Mr Brown added recent sell-out successes for the firm’s developments in the Granite City, as well as Cala’s appetite to build more homes at locations including Balgownie and Cults highlighted strength in the local market despite a recent economic slump.

A wave of housebuilding across the north-east has left some people wondering where all the buyers will come from, given the North Sea industry is still trying to get back on its feet after oil prices collapsed.

But Mr Brown said Aberdeen – Cala’s “cultural home” – had delivered a strong performance during the past year.

“The local market has been stable for about 15 months,” he said, adding: “We are very confident about what is happening in Aberdeen at the moment.”

He was speaking as the group announced it was on course for a fifth consecutive year of record profits and revenue, which is expected to top £700million for the first time.

It also boasted a 26% year-on-year increase in forward sales, a pipeline of 34 new contracted developments potentially worth £1.3billion and a further 33 sites, with planing permission, which could be worth £1.2billion.

Cala said it was on track to deliver on its strategic growth plan, targeting the construction of up to 2,500 homes and £1billion of revenue a year by 2020.

The company, which has its roots in Aberdeen but is now headquartered in Edinburgh, completed 1,677 new homes during the 12 months to June 30 – a 46% year-on-year increase.

It’s average selling price fell to £497,000, from £538,000 a year earlier, driven by a change in site mix and a “continued transition” away from the market for £1million-plus homes.

Cala’s trading update also called on the UK Government to overhaul Britain’s planning system in order to achieve a manifesto pledge to build 1million new homes by 2020.

It said urgent reform was required to “remove the obstructions that are preventing us and other developers from getting on and building the homes the country desperately needs”.

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