Barratt saw sales rise by 24% since July, it said in a trading update today.

Company relies heavily on sales made using Government Help to Buy scheme.

Buyer demand for new-builds appears to be on the rise, with Barratt Developments reporting a 24 per cent rise in sales since July.

Just over half of Barratt's customer base in the past quarter used the Government's Help to Buy scheme and three quarters of those people were first-time buyers.

Help to Buy has 'acted like a monster pack of Duracell batteries', fuelling housebuilders since its launch in 2013, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.

Rising demand: Sales at Barratt Developments have jumped 24% since July

Mould also thinks Prime Minister Boris Johnson's future proposal to offer first-time buyers 95 per cent mortgages with the Government potentially acting as a partial guarantor will be 'music to the ears' of businesses like Barratt.

The Government's Help to Buy scheme changes from April 2021, when it will be restricted to first-time buyers.

Buoyant: House prices enjoyed their biggest annual rise for more than four years in September, according to Halifax's latest house price index

In its latest update, Barratt said: 'Whilst mortgage rates remain relatively attractive, since the pandemic there has been a material change in loan to value lending criteria with no mainstream mortgage lenders providing mortgages at 95 per cent LTV for new build homebuyers, increasing the reliance of first time buyers on Help to Buy.'

Barratt's chief executive David Thomas hailed 'continuing strong customer demand' as the property market enjoys a mini-boom since lockdown, boosted by a stamp duty holiday on houses worth up to £500,000.

Proposal: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has talked about a desire for banks to offer 95% mortgages with the Government potentially acting as a partial guarantor

House prices enjoyed their biggest annual rise for more than four years in September, according to Halifax's latest house price index.

The data last week showed prices jumped 7.3 per cent in the year to September to £249,870 and grew 1.6 per cent month-on-month.

But, experts have warned that the boom may fizzle out as unemployment picks up and the stamp duty break ends next spring.

Barratt said today: 'Whilst there continues to be economic and political uncertainty, the group is in a strong position.

'We have a substantial net cash balance, a well-capitalised balance sheet, a healthy forward sales position.'

From 1 July to 11 October, Barratt completed on 4,032 homes, against 3,252 by the same point a year ago.

It said: 'Our sales rate in the period was 0.871 net private reservations per active outlet per average week, up 20.8% on last year (2020: 0.72).'

Total forward sales were 15,135 homes by the end of the period, up from 12,963 a year ago. But, the total value of all the forward sales is down on last year.

The group said construction activity remained in line with forecasts, with an average of 294 homes constructed a week in the period.

Barratt said it had ramped up building work to offset the impact of temporary site closures during lockdown, with 33 new developments launched since July.

It is working towards a target of building 20,000 homes homes annually within the next few years.

Following the temporary suspension of land buying during lockdown, Barratt said it had now 'recommenced the acquisition of 4,160 plots across 15 sites and approved the purchase of a further 484 plots on 4 sites.'

Shares in FTSE 100-listed Barratt are up 2.32 per cent or 12.60p to 556.40p. Just before lockdown in March, the group's share price was closer to the 774p mark.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: 'These figures from Barratt show that Covid-19 is not preventing the construction of new properties nor consumers' willingness to make what could be the biggest financial transaction in their lives.

'The Government seems intent on finding ways to help people onto the housing ladder and that's good news for Barratt whose customer base is heavily weighted towards first-time buyers.'

He added: 'The end of the stamp duty relief next March will also test the broader property sector with fears that the current surge in activity has simply brought forward transactions and so we could see a lull in the usual spring selling season.

'Boris Johnson has talked about a desire for banks to offer 95% mortgages with the Government potentially acting as a partial guarantor. We're still short on detail but the Prime Minister seems to think this policy could create 2 million more homeowners. That's music to the ears of a business like Barratt.

'What seems almost certain is that Mr Johnson and his colleagues will find some way of keeping the property dream alive and for Barratt that means it is worth keeping the cupboard stocked with hammers and nails so it can churn out more homes.'

Meanwhile, Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: 'Barratt continues to capitalise on those factors within its control, ahead of the darkening economic clouds.'

He added: 'The availability of high loan to value mortgages has suffered post-pandemic, while the general outlook for the UK economy is currently bleak, with stuttering Brexit negotiations compounding the effects already being suffered as a result of Covid-19.'

This article is republished from Daily Mail Online. Read the original article.