This has been a significant year for Inland Homes, with record breaking financial results achieved through the delivery of a well-balanced strategy of new homes, land sales, land purchases and rental income
This has been a significant year for Inland Homes, with record breaking financial results achieved through the delivery of a well-balanced strategy of new homes, land sales, land purchases and rental income. The Group's results demonstrate that our small team has been highly successful in delivering and managing the significant increase in both turnover, profitability and shareholders' funds achieved from our expanding housebuilding and the sale of consented land.
Our focus remains on development opportunities in Southern England in locations where the economy is strong and demand is high.
Inland built and sold 248 private homes and 39 homes for housing associations with an average sale price of £264,000 for our private units. This is a 52% increase in overall completions when measured against the comparable period last year.
We completed the sale of 440 building plots (2014: 169 building plots) and our rental income was £0.8m, although this has increased significantly since the year end to £1.1m per annum.
During the financial year, Inland acquired 76 existing houses, together with undeveloped land, that was released by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation at Wilton Park in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. The Group intends to hold the houses as investment properties and we have seen a revaluation surplus on these properties of £14.5m at the balance sheet date.
These transactions have resulted in a record profit before tax of £34.0m (including the revaluation surplus on investment properties of £14.5m), an increase of 254% over the previous year.
Our varied portfolio of mainly 1, 2 and 3 bed homes are particularly popular with first time buyers and investors. The Government's 'Help to Buy' initiative is a very attractive incentive with 31% of our buyers taking advantage of this scheme during the financial year. We are pleased to note that this scheme has been extended by the Government to 2020.
The forward sales position of homes that have been reserved or where contracts have been exchanged, is very strong at £31.1m.
The Group's balance sheet has strengthened significantly over the previous period with cash balances of £21.4m at the year end and shareholders' funds of £88.8m. Net borrowings amounted to £34.9m (2014 restated: £40.9m). Borrowings have increased post the year end date due to continuing investment in land opportunities and a further increase in work in progress.
Despite the substantial increase in plot sales with planning permissions and completed homes, I am pleased to report that the land bank has increased to a record 5,176 plots (2014: 3,734 plots), a significant achievement by any measure.
The Group's administrative expenses have increased as we continue to invest in quality personnel in a competitive marketplace and as a result of the substantial increase in the activities of the Group.
Given the Group's strong earnings, forward sales position and sound balance sheet, the Board is proposing to increase the final dividend by 17% to 0.7p per share (2014: 0.6p) subject to shareholders' approval at the AGM which is to be held on 14 December 2015. The final dividend will be paid to shareholders on 22 January 2016. Together with the interim dividend of 0.3p per share paid in July 2015 this brings the total dividends for the year to 1.0p, an increase of 67%.
Finally, I should like to extend my thanks once again to our small, highly motivated team led by our CEO, Stephen Wicks, for their continued hard work during the year which has made these outstanding results possible.
28 October 2015