LONDON: In marked contrast to Travis Perkins warning of a fragile market, house builder Barratt Developments reported reduced losses for the second half of last year and issued an upbeat forecast for the next six months.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £178.4m, £129.9m of which related to finance costs, compared with a loss of £594.5m a year earlier.

The builder said it had 27% more orders on its books than this time last year.

Mark Clare, Barrett's chief executive, said: "During the period, the recovery of the UK new housing market continued in terms of customer demand and pricing, albeit mortgage availability remained restricted, particularly in the higher loan to value segment," said

"We are expecting to see significant improvements in operating margins in the second half," he said.

Total home completions for the six months to the end of 2009 were 5053, compared with 6905 in the same period in 2008.

Revenue came in at £872.4m, compared with £1.26bn a year earlier.