Redrow has reported record first-half profits as completions and average selling prices both rose by more than 12 per cent.

The FTSE 250 group became the latest midsized housebuilder to report an increase in output, pushing up legal completions by 13 per cent to 2,459 in the six months to December 31, while average selling prices rose 12 per cent to £344,000. This helped to increase gross margin from 24.2 per cent to 25 per cent.

Pre-tax profit jumped by a record 35 per cent to £140m as the increase in homes completed, combined with a growing focus on the south of England where house prices are high, enabled the Flintshire-based company to increase revenues by 23 per cent to £739m.

The group will also venture into the east Midlands after the purchase this month of Radleigh Homes, a regional housebuilder, while it reported “strong” demand for its homes across the country.

Steve Morgan, chairman, said: “We entered the second half with a record order book, and customer traffic and sales remain robust.

“Given the strength of our sales position and land holdings our growth strategy is firmly on track, giving me every confidence this will be another year of significant progress for Redrow.”

Redrow increased its private forward order book by 35 per cent to £897m. It said it aimed to increase its sales outlets in the second half, but added: “As always, however, this is subject to progressing a considerable number of sites through the planning process, which unfortunately remains as ponderous as ever.”

Shares in the group were up 3 per cent at 466p in early London trading.

A housing white paper from the government on Tuesday, aimed at speeding up construction, promised new measures to push councils to plan for increased housebuilding, plus limited new financial resources for planning departments.

However, the proposals also include measures to push landowners to build on sites where planning permission has been granted, including making it easier to revoke permission and even impose compulsory purchase orders.

The Home Builders Federation, an industry body, said on Tuesday: “We are keen to work with government on proposals to reduce the time required for builders to start work once a permission is granted whilst ensuring they do not deter investment or the number of permissions. However, any sensible measure should not have an adverse impact on builders.”