Barratt Developments has today stuck to its annual sales volume target despite the UK's biggest housebuilder starting the year on a tepid note.  

The FTSE 100 company has been trying to cut costs by changing the design of the houses it builds and reducing exposure to central London, focusing on more affordable, outer parts of the city. 

Barratt reiterated that it expects to grow volumes towards the lower end of its medium-term target range of 3% to 5% annually. 

Sales in the first 15 weeks of the year fell despite higher deliveries, as a decision by the company to focus on quality in a tough housing market eats into its margins. 

Total forward sales, including joint ventures as on October 13, rose to 12,963 units from 12,903 units a year earlier, the company said.  

Shares of Barratt fell as much as 4% in early deals after the company said the value of those homes declined 2.4% to £3.07 billion. 

"Whilst there is increased economic and political uncertainty, group is in a strong position. We recognise that economic outlook will depend on the form of UK's EU withdrawal in the medium term," Barratt said. 

The company said its balance sheet and cash position would help it adapt to any possible changes in the environment it operates in. 

With about two weeks to go before the UK is due to leave the world's biggest trading bloc, it remains unclear on what terms it will leave or indeed whether it will leave at all. 

Homebuilders are considered to be among the most vulnerable to any hit to the economy, which is a possibility in case of a chaotic no-deal Brexit.