HOUSEBUILDER Bellway has seen a surge in completed houses including hundreds in Scotland in the last six months amid strong demand for new homes.

However, it warned the future remains uncertain with large rises in unemployment across the country likely to impact the sector.

The end of a stamp duty and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax holiday and changes in the Help-to-Buy rules could also make it harder for prospective homeowners to get on the property ladder or for the housing market to grow, it said.

The current market remains strong, though, with Bellway revealing it completed 5,565 new homes in the six months to the end of January, up 6.3 per cent, compared with the same period a year ago.

There was also an increase in sales, with private reservations rates up 3.3% to 156 per week, and continued investment in land for new homes.

Across 54 sites, 8,848 plots have been identified and contracted, compared with 7,005 plots across 41 sites a year earlier.

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House completions for the full year to the end of July are now expected to rise to 9,800 homes, compared with 7,522 a year ago, the company added. Profit margins are also likely to increase.

In Scotland it said there had been combined completions of 378 for the six-month period and an average sales price of £276,000.

Bellway has also contracted to buy another 800 plots in Scotland.

The company has sites including in Glasgow, Perth, Calderwood in East Lothian, and Penicuik, Midlothian.

Jason Honeyman, chief executive, said: "While uncertainty remains in the wider economy, the underlying demand for good quality new homes remains robust and we have therefore made further, disciplined investment in attractive land opportunities."

Bellway added: "There remains uncertainty in the wider economy, with the ongoing threat of Covid-19 presenting a risk of future disruption to operations and, if employment conditions worsen, customer demand.

"Nevertheless, the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine provides some optimism and there remains an underlying requirement for new homes in the UK." Shares closed up 3% at 3,120p.