Taylor Wimpey reported a surge in its order book to £1.2 billion today as schemes such as Help to Buy continue to buoy the sector.

The builder said there had been a meaningful step change in market conditions over the last year but warned that it continues to be frustrated by the UK's "cumbersome" planning environment.

Overall completions rose 7% to 11,696 last year, with more than 2,900 households able to take a step onto or up the housing ladder thanks to Taylor's role in the Government's Help to Buy scheme.

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Its order book now stands at 6,627 homes, an increase of 11% on a year earlier and a rise of 27% in value terms to £1.2 billion.

In the latest upbeat trading statement from the sector, Taylor said: "We enter 2014 with an excellent order book, with improved margins and pricing and a very strong set of selling locations."

The company added that consumer confidence had improved across most of its main markets while levels of interest, visitors and reservations remained high in the opening weeks of the 2014.

The company currently operates from 314 outlets, a decrease of 13 on a year earlier due to the effect of better sales conditions.

It approved the purchase of 15,667 new plots on 105 sites last year but said the planning environment in the UK remains "generally quite slow and cumbersome", although there have been signs that changes in the last three years are starting to have a positive impact.