Berkeley profits soar as housing demand rises

Housebuilder Berkeley added to cheer in the property sector as it said profits soared by nearly a fifth and revealed it was delivering more homes than before the financial crisis.

It said demand in London and the South East remained strong, with the market as a whole benefiting from the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

But chairman Tony Pidgley sounded a warning on the impact of property tax changes on the ability of the UK to meet its housing supply shortage, after Chancellor George Osborne announced foreign owners would have to pay capital gains tax.

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The FTSE 250-listed group said pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of October rose 19.2 per cent to £169.5m, while full-year earnings were likely to be towards the top end of expectations.

It sold 2,294 new homes during the period, up from 1,927 the year before, helping lift revenues by 19.7 per cent to £821m.