* Pretax pre-ex profit 19.6 mln stg vs 68.9 mln loss
* Pretax profit 7.5 mln stg vs 681.9 mln loss
* Says current trading satisfactory
LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) swung to a first-half profit and said trading is satisfactory, however a slide in house prices and consumer confidence will likely turn up the heat again on the builders.
The company kicked off first-half results from British housebuilders by posting a pretax profit before exceptional items of 19.6 million pounds ($31.0 million), compared with a loss of 68.9 million in the same period last year.
After exceptional items, its profit reduced for the six months to 7.5 million pounds.
It also announced a material improvement in operating margins.
“Although wider economic uncertainty remains, current trading is satisfactory and our forward order books and cautious approach to land valuation provide protection against downside scenarios,” said the group in a statement on Tuesday.
House price growth has stalled in recent months, with a 0.6 percent drop in June, the third successive monthly fall, according to mortgage lender Halifax. [ID:nLDE6670IE]
Taylor Wimpey signalled in May that it completed 4,650 homes in the first half, against 4,702 homes in the same period last year, at an average selling price of 167,000 pounds, up from 153,000. [ID:nLDE65O13E]
Shares in Taylor Wimpey closed at 28.52 pence, valuing the company at 847.2 million pounds.
(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Julie Crust)