House builder CALA – currently working on the Rivermead Gardens development in Alton – has announced a big jump in its pre-tax profit.

It went up 27 per cent from £132.7 million in 2021 to £169m last year, despite turnover only rising nine per cent from £1.24 billion to £1.36bn over the same period. The number of houses it completed across the country rose four per cent from 2,904 to 3,027.

Former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget in September affected business in the final quarter of the year, with only 0.62 house sales per site per week in 2022 compared to 0.76 in 2021.

But the relentless rise in prices plus the size and location of houses sold meant CALA achieved an average selling price of £492,000 in 2022, up from £462,000 in 2021. It began 2023 with 751 houses already reserved for buyers, with an average price tag of £527,000.