SHARES in Springfield Properties closed up more than three per cent after the housebuilder revealed a first move into Inverness and delivered a robust trading update.

The Elgin-based company has acquired a 14-acre site at Easterfield Farm, which is close to Drummossie Hotel, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Inshes Retail Park and is 15 minutes from Inverness Airport, where it plans to build 90 homes. Described by the housebuilder as a “key milestone” in its continuing expansion across the Highlands, it will become the first Springfield development in the city. It hopes to begin selling homes at the site later this year.

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Noting that Springfield is on course to build 1,000 homes across Scotland this year, chief executive Innes Smith said: “In recent years, we’ve developed a stronger presence in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and we’re already active in Dundee and Perth. Now we are in a position to include Inverness in our portfolio, which is the next step for our growth.

“Inverness is a great city, rich in history, and spoilt with some of Scotland’s best scenery right on its doorstep. It’s the gateway to the Highlands, with plenty of employment opportunities, and we’re looking forward to working with the council to deliver great quality homes in the area.”

Separately, Springfield hailed the strength of the Scottish market as it reported the growth it had seen in the six months to February 26 continued into the second half, with an increase in completions. It said its full-year results, which it will report on September 17, will meet market expectations, “representing significant growth over the previous year with improved gross margins”. Shares closed up 3.5p at 106p.