HOUSEBUILDING giant Miller Homes achieved strong growth in first half profits with its focus on areas such as Scotland’s Central Belt in spite of reports the UK market is cooling.

The Edinburgh-based firm increased operating profits by 11% to £70.5 million in the six months to June 30, from £63.5m in the same period last year helped by growth in sales volumes and average selling prices.

The company sold 1,493 homes, up 12% on 1,336 homes last time.

The average selling price it achieved increased by 6% to £248,000, from £235,000.

Chief executive Chris Endsor said: “Our regional proposition continues to provide favourable trading conditions both in relation to the sales market and land buying opportunities. “

He added: “Whilst there are no signs that Brexit concerns are yet weighing on our customers’ minds, it would nonetheless be welcomed to receive clarity as March 2019 fast approaches.”

Miller’s forward sales hit a record £345m at June 30, up 23% on the same period last year.

The company appears to have benefited from the decision to keep its focus on what it classes as regional markets. Conditions have remained steadier in these than in hotspots such as London, where prices have come under pressure in recent months.

Mr Endsor said last year Miller expects to grow annual sales volumes in Scotland by at least one third by 2020.

The Bridgepoint private equity firm showed faith in Miller’s prospects in August last year, when it bought the firm in a £655 million deal from funds managed by US financiers Blackstone.

Miller is investing significantly in its land bank.