British homebuilder Bellway Plc said on Friday that affordability concerns eased and booking rates improved in the first half of its fiscal year, buoyed by recent cuts in home-loan rates.

The British housing market has seen signs of stability in recent weeks helped by easing mortgage rates, after battling subdued demand for most of last year, while builders have stayed cautious amid macro-economic worries and lack of clarity over the Bank of England's monetary policy path.

Reflecting the green shoots of recovery in the sector, UK house prices rose more than expected in January, while British lenders in December approved the most number of mortgages since June.

"While the economic backdrop remains uncertain, the gradual reduction in mortgage interest rates through the first half has eased affordability constraints," CEO Jason Honeyman said in a statement.

Bellway said it was building on the recent recovery in customer demand. The company opened 34 new outlets in the first half to Jan. 31 and planned to open more than 40 in the second half, it added.

The Newcastle-based firm said forward sales - a key industry metric which gauges housing demand - stood at 3,970 homes, as of Jan. 31, down from 5,108 units a year earlier.



(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)