Berkeley building more homes than before crash

Aaron Morby 8 years ago
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Upmarket London house builder Berkeley Group is now building more homes than it did in the boom before the financial crash.

The firm said it was now mobilised on every site it has with viable planning consent and vacant possession.

Announcing sparkling half-year results, chairman Tony Pidgley however warned he was concerned about the impact of the Chancellor’s move  to make overseas investors pay capital gains tax on the profit they make when they sell their UK properties.

“Berkeley has the capacity to invest further, which would create more homes and jobs, but is concerned by the increased uncertainty created by the ongoing debates surrounding the future of property taxation and international buyers,” he said.

“The long-term challenge for the country is to deal with the significant housing shortfall which continues to grow.”

Over the last five years Berkeley has doubled the size of its business, investing over £1.5bn into land and over £2.5bn into building.

Pidgley said that had sustained 16,000 direct and indirect jobs each year and delivered over 15,000 homes of every tenure.

“The Group is now delivering more new homes than immediately prior to the financial crisis in 2008 and is building on every one of its sites which has a viable planning consent and vacant possession,” he added.

In the six months to October, Berkeley group pre-tax profits jumped 19% to £170m on revenue up by a similar percentage to £821m.

Operating margins hovered at an industry-leading 20%.

Over the period Berkeley spent £278m on land acquiring a further 1,754 residential plots.

He added:  “We have achieved our target of growing our land holdings to over £3bn earlier than originally guided.

“This performance maintains the board’s view that Berkeley is on course to meet the first milestone payment of £568m by September 2015 and to return £1.7bn in cash to shareholders no later than September 2021.”

 

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