U.S. News

Housebuilder Wimpey Flags Continuing U.S. Slowdown


British housebuilder George Wimpey flagged concerns on Wednesday that it may miss analysts' year profit forecasts if it decides to write off further land options as the U.S. house market continues to struggle.

"Group profit before tax for 2006 is expected to be in line with our expectations, prior to U.S. option exit costs and land value provisions," the company said in a statement.

Wimpey has seen a sharp deterioration in the housing market in some of its key U.S. territories, noting California, Florida and Arizona as particular problem areas. However, the downturn has so far been cushioned by a UK market picking up pace once again.

The firm had already written off around $1 million of land deals as a result of the U.S. slowdown and said it was shunning land buys in all parts of the U.S. except for Texas, and would have reduced its land bank plots in the U.S by more than 20 percent by the end of December.

It said its UK forward order book for 2007 stood at 763 million pounds ($1.50 billion), a 10 percent increase by volume and 11 percent by value compared with the same time last year.