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UK housebuilder Taylor Wimpey sees improving buyer confidence

FILE PHOTO: A construction worker walks on a roof as works on a Taylor Wimpey housing estate in Aylesbury

(Reuters) -British housebuilder Taylor Wimpey Plc said on Thursday buyer interest has risen over the past few months, helped by an improvement in sales and mortgage rates, even as the group remained cautious over broader economic woes.

Britain's housing market has slowed markedly over the last six months, weighed down by a steep rise in borrowing costs and heightened worries on the macroeconomic front, while falling house prices squeezed margins for the struggling housebuilders.

"We have seen continued recovery in demand from the low levels experienced towards the end of 2022, supported by good mortgage availability, and have seen an incremental improvement in sales rate as the Spring selling season has progressed," CEO Jennie Daly said in a statement.

Daly, however, said the company remained cautious over continued macroeconomic uncertainty.

The FTSE 100 company said its net private sales in the fiscal year until April 23 was 0.75 units, up from 0.62 reported for the first eight weeks of 2023.

Taylor Wimpey said its total order book value - a key measure that gauges near-term demand - stood at about 2.38 billion pounds ($2.97 billion) in the reported period, up from 2.15 billion pounds seen in the first two months of the year.

Taylor Wimpey's bigger rival Persimmon said on Wednesday trading over recent weeks had offered some signs of encouragement, with cancellation levels normalising and sales rates steadily improving since the start of the year.

($1 = 0.8019 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru and Suban Abdullah in London; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)