Growth across the sunshine states of America has helped Midland housebuilder Taylor Woodrow look forward to further progress in 2005, boosted by a record landbank and order book.
The Solihull company, which builds in the UK under the name Bryant Homes, heralded another successful year as it reported a 30 per cent increase in pretax profits to £390.4 million.
It was helped by an " outstanding performance" from its North American operations, where it builds properties in Texas, Florida, Arizona and California and Toronto, Canada.
Just over 3,600, out of a total of 13,092 properties, were completed in North America, helping that arm of the business increase operating profit from £90.1 million to £127.6 million.
Ian Morris, director of communications, said: "In North America, the markets we are in are all among the top ten growth regions in terms of economic output.
"They are all attracting new people migrating in, and these people want new homes. The states in the US are the sunshine states which are also attracting a large number of people moving to retirement homes.
"We are now investing disproportionately in the US, buying land over there with the equivalent of planning permission which means we can start work quickly."
Taylor Woodrow pledged to increase its dividend by a quarter to 11.1p from 8.9p last time on the back of the record performance.
Meanwhile, the UK housing arm - Bryant is main sponsor of Moseley rugby club - saw profits rise by 22 per cent from £246 million to £301.1 million, helped by the completed integration of fellow house-builder Wilson Connolly.
Yesterday's update offered a more positive view on the current state of the housing market after Woodrow previously blamed "continuing negative media speculation" for its failure to hit a 2004 target to sell more than 10,000 UK properties.
In the end, Woodrow reported 9,053 completions with an average sales price nine per cent higher at £197,300.
During the year, £590 million was spent on land, taking the group's overall landbank to 63,701 plots.
The group also boasted a record order book of £1.13 billion.
Iain Napier, chief executive of the company, said he was upbeat about the housing market during 2005, although it was too early to predict how it would turn out.
He did go on to say, however, that 'our excellent forward sold position gives us confidence for another year of good growth'.