UPDATE 1-Taylor Wimpey sees sustained housing demand as budget measures kick in

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April 22 (Reuters) - Britain’s third-largest homebuilder Taylor Wimpey on Thursday forecast sustained demand as the sector benefits from a lower interest rate environment and additional budgetary support measures.

Last month, British finance minister Rishi Sunak extended tax breaks for home buyers until October and unveiled a mortgage guarantee scheme in the budget, moves that further bolstered the housing sector after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a phased exit plan from COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The UK housing market continues to be resilient and we are trading in line with our full-year expectations,” said Chief Executive Officer Pete Redfern.

Mortgage lender Halifax said British house price growth accelerated in March after the tax break extension, posting the biggest increase in six months and compared with a flat reading in February.

The group said its order book stood at 2.81 billion pounds ($3.91 billion), as of April 18, compared with 2.67 billion pounds a year earlier.

The FTSE 100 firm, which was aggressively buying land during the pandemic, said net private sales rate for the year to April 18 was strong at 1.00, compared with 0.90 a year earlier.

Taylor Wimpey said its focus remained on delivering operating profit margin target of 21%-22% in the medium term, adding that it remained on track to deliver against annual financials outlook.

The company, however, said it was not planning to make a capital return in 2021. ($1 = 0.7178 pounds) (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)