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More gloom for house builders

Bovis Homes and Redrow have confimed 40% cuts in staff numbers, due to the severe downturn in the housing market.

Trading statements issued to the London Stock Exchange this morning by each company confirm the misery in the housing market.

Bovis Homes said it had completed the sale of just 851 homes in the first six months of 2008, a reduction of 32%.

The price of those homes also dropped - the average price of houses sold in the first half of 2007 was £204,500, now dropped to £196,500 this year.

In an attempt to "manage overhead costs", the, "Group expects total staff numbers, both office and site-based, to be reduced by around 40% compared to those employed at the start of the year," reads the statement.

Redrow's results mirror those of Bovis, with 3,925 homes sold in the first half of this year, down from 4,823 in the same period last year. The average selling price dropped by £2,000 to £157,000.

"Net reservation levels in the second half of the financial yearwere 55% below the level achieved last year," reads the statement.

"We anticipate an overall decrease in headcount within the group since 1 January 2008 of approximately 40%," it reads.

Baratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon have already revealed staff cuts to moderate the effects of the property downturn.

Geotechnical and piling contractors are also feeling the pinch.

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