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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 08:32 GMT
US housing blow to Wimpey profit
Worker on construction site in Denver
The US property market has been hit by a slowdown
Housebuilder George Wimpey has said a strong performance from the UK housing market will help offset poor housing market conditions in the US.

Wimpey said it expected UK completions to reach record levels in 2006, while prices continued to rise.

But problems in the US have prompted the group to write off land deals worth around $1m and slow future land purchases in all states except Texas.

Despite its US problems, Wimpey expects full year profits to meet forecasts.

Looking ahead, Wimpey said it remained cautious about the US market, adding it would hold off on further land purchases amid belief that prices could fall further.

The US property market has been going through a slump, with annual spending on new housing down 17.4% in the third quarter of 2006, according to official figures.

Meanwhile, applications to build new homes fell for the 10th month in a row in November.

But Wimpey's prospects were significantly better in the UK.

Its UK forward order book for 2007 stood at 763m ($1.5bn) - a 10% increase by volume and 11% by value compared with the same time last year.

UK house prices surged this year despite two rate rises by the Bank of England.

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