HOUSEBUILDER Crest Nicholson has reported a 40% rise in pre-tax profits to £86.8 million in the year it returned to the stock market.

It completed the sale of 2172 houses in the 12 months to October 31 last year, an improvement of 15% on the previous financial year.

The company, which was once taken private by Sir Tom Hunter and Bank of Scotland, took almost 600 reservations under the 'Help to Buy' scheme.

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The improved confidence around the housing market also helped to boost its outlook.

Shares closed up 2.8p, or 1%, at 355p.