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British homebuilder Taylor Wimpey says demand remains strong

FILE PHOTO: A builder working for Taylor Wimpey builds a roof on an estate in Aylesbury, Britain, February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain's third-largest homebuilder Taylor Wimpey Plc said on Wednesday that demand for its homes remained strong at the start of the year, while reporting a higher full-year pretax profit.

The company also said it was committed to returning cash back to shareholders in 2020 and beyond.

Taylor Wimpey's upbeat outlook counters an overall sluggish British housing market with people shying away from buying homes due to smaller household incomes and Brexit jitters keeping foreign investors on the sidelines.

The company reported a 5.5 percent rise in profit before tax and exceptional items to 856.8 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31.

Revenue for the full year rose 2.9 percent to 4.08 billion pounds.

"Customer demand for new build homes continued to be robust, underpinned by low interest rates, a wide choice of mortgage deals and the Government's Help to Buy scheme," the company said, adding that it continues to expect stable volumes in 2019.

British property surveyors are the most downbeat about the short-term outlook for house prices in nearly eight years, and sellers are shying away from putting homes on the market in the run-up to Brexit, a survey showed last month.


(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)