Shares in Taylor Wimpey were up on the FTSE 250 in afternoon trading after the housebuilder said that its underlying pre-tax profit for the full year will be "ahead of expectations" and that it had seen interest from potential buyers in its North American business.

The group is due to issue its results for the full year ended 31 December 2010 on 3 March and said that the strong profits had been driven by outperformance in its North American business.

Taylor Wimpey said that its net debt at the end of the period was "lower than expected", coming in at around £660 million, down £90 million from the previous year.

During 2010 Taylor Wimpey said it had completed 9,962 homes, down from 10,186 in the previous year, with the average selling price rising seven per cent to £171,000.

In North America the group completed 4,140 homes, down from 4,755 the previous year. The fall in completions was once again offset by the average selling price rising, from $255,000 to $274,000 in the USA and from C$347,000 to C$374,000 in Canada.

Taylor Wimpey added that it had "received interest" about its North American operations and that it was in the "early stages of evaluating these approaches".

In an outlook statement Taylor Wimpey said that while it believed it would "make progress" in 2011 constrained mortgage lending and economic uncertainty meant it would act "cautiously".

Pete Redfern, Chief Executive of Taylor Wimpey, said, "We have delivered a much improved performance in 2010. We are now in a strong position to add significant value by maximising returns from our existing land portfolio and adding high quality new land on attractive terms."

By 13:40 shares in Taylor Wimpey were up 9.33 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 38.43 pence per share.