Construction company Bellway has posted a 50% slump in profits as it warns of further writedowns, a result of the slump in the housing market and deepening recession.

The six-month update by the British housebuilder also reveals 1,000 of its homes are sitting unsold.

Forward orders at 31 January were £296m, compared with £580m at the same point last year, according to the company.

In a six-month update the company said it had built 2,014 homes, down from 3,252 in the six months to January 2008, with the average selling price falling by 8.5%.

The company says it is however operating well and will start to apraise new land-buying opportunities.

The news comes as new figures reveal a rise in the number of construction companies becoming insolvent.

According to accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (Pwc), 692 construction firms went into insolvency in the last quarter of 2008, a 28% rise from the previous quarter.

The figures reveal the highest level of insolvencies – to include liquidations, administrations, receiverships and voluntary arrangements – over the last six years.

By staff writer.