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The FTSE 250 housebuilder Countryside pushed up construction by more than 30 per cent in the first half as sales came in ahead of expectations.

Completions were up 31 per cent to 1,437 in the six months to the end of March, while the company’s order book reached a record £347m, up 69 per cent from a year earlier.

The group, which listed just over a year ago, said the strong numbers were down to “customer demand, government support and good mortgage availability” and looked set to continue for the rest of the year.

It said growth was set to be “substantial” in its partnerships division, which builds homes as part of large-scale regeneration projects on public sector land. That division secured plots of land for 4,225 new homes during the six months after successfully bidding for London projects.

However, Countryside’s average selling price was down 13 per cent to £440,000 as the group cut its exposure to high-end homes, a market which has been faltering.

Ian Sutcliffe, chief executive, said: “We look forward to continuing our sector-leading growth trajectory and remain confident of making further progress on our medium-term targets as laid out at our IPO just over a year ago.”

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