Two of Britain's major construction firms highlighted cheer for job hunters and investors today in the wake of the country's housing market recovery.

Barratt Developments said it has created 3,000 new jobs in the past year after it increased the production of new homes to meet demand. It is also expanding its recruitment programme over the next three years for graduates, apprentices and trainees to 1,100, on top of 600 already taken on.

The step up in employment follows a 35% increase in its number of housing starts in 2013 to around 16,000, compared with 8,400 in 2009. The number of staff, including subcontractors, on Barratt's sites in December was 17,900.

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In 2013, the group increased the rate of sales by around 40%, as it works to deliver on its pledge to build 45,000 homes in three years.

Barratt said its pre-tax profits more than doubled to £120.4 million in the six months to December 31 - on the same day that rival Redrow said its haul for the same period increased 107% to £47.5 million.

The updates are in line with other firms from the sector in recent days as mortgage assistance schemes such as Help to Buy get more first-time buyers on to the property ladder, in turn freeing up some housing chains.

The boom means Flintshire-based Redrow is able to pay a dividend to shareholders in the half year for the first time in six years.

Chairman Steve Morgan said private reservations since January were up 24% on last year from 12% more outlets.

He added: "We expect the housing market to remain robust and for consumer confidence to improve in line with the economy."

However he repeated his previous concerns that the planning system is still failing to deliver implementable planning permissions at a fast enough rate to meet demand for housing.

He hopes a consultation launched by the Government in December aimed at speeding up the planning process will be implemented as quickly as possible.

Redrow sales per outlet per week in the first half of the year were 0.7, up 32% on the previous year.

Half-year revenues jumped 41% to £363 million, driven by a 30% increase in legal completions and a 9% increase in average selling prices to £232,000. Its average number of outlets increased by 10 to 93.