HOUSEBUILDER Barratt has pledged to create jobs in Scotland as it supports the economic recovery, it said as it posted a half-year profit hike.

The company was prompted to resume dividend payouts to investors amid a booming property market, it said. It posted a 1.7 per cent rise in interim pre-tax profits to £430.2 million as revenues surged 10% to £2.5 billion.

Profits growth was held back by a £77m charge for furlough income repayments and remedial cladding work on some developments in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

It completed a record 9,077 homes over the six months to December 31, a jump of 9.2% from the last six months of 2019 and the highest to date for its half-year.

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Shares rose 3% at one stage as it cheered investors with confirmation that it will restart dividends with a 7.5p interim payout.

It expects up to 15,750 homes to be completed over the full year and another 650 through joint ventures.

Barratt Homes has recently launched Lime Grove in the east of Scotland and Whiteland Coast in the north. Merchant Quay in Edinburgh will launch later this year, and approval has been given to 113 homes in the Findrassie area of Elgin, with plans having also been submitted in west Scotland for a new development at Stepps.

The housing market was sent into a frenzy in 2020 thanks to a stamp duty holiday, pent-up demand from the first lockdown and changing demands due to the pandemic.

Barratt has since seen demand ease back, with average net private reservations per active outlet a week at 0.77 in January, down from 0.83% a year earlier.

David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments, said: "We have achieved a fantastic first half performance, with a strong rebound in completion volumes and good progress towards our medium term targets."

He gave a bullish outlook and said demand remains robust.

“We have also made a solid start to the second half and are now over 95% forward sold for our financial year,” he said. “We will continue to lead the industry in quality and service as we deliver the high quality sustainable homes and developments the country needs, creating jobs and supporting the economic recovery across England, Scotland and Wales."

Analysts at Peel Hunt said revenues showed a "healthy bounce".