HOUSEBUILDER Bellway has posted record annual profits and said it is well placed for further growth after strong trading in recent weeks.

The company, which has dozens of sites across central Scotland, beat forecasts with a profits jump of 75 per cent to £245.9 million in the year to July as it sold more homes at higher prices.

Demand was boosted by the Government's Help to Buy scheme while it said initiatives this year from the industry and the Bank of England to curb lending limits should ensure a long-term supply of mortgage finance. Bellway added that in the first nine weeks of its current financial year its forward order book lifted to a record £975.3m and that it expects to grow volumes by around 10 per cent this year.

The business said last year strong demand allowed it to sell 6,851 homes, up 21.2 per cent at an average selling price that rose 10.4 per cent to £213,182.

It said it was able to boost prices by focusing on building two-storey family homes and apartments in London, where average prices reached almost £300,000, as well as by reducing incentives. The company added that all its divisions increased sales and profit in the period.