Berkeley Group has suspended construction on a £20m housing scheme in Barnes

Emma Haslett
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The Villas is a development of seven townhouses in Barnes (Source: Berkeley Group)

Berkeley Group may have just dropped out of the FTSE 100, but that's unlikely to have stopped rival developers from keeping a close eye on its activities.

Tony Pidgley, the company's founder, famously called the top of the London housing market during the recession. Now he's taken the decision to, er, stop building a small development in Barnes.

The BBC reported this afternoon that Berkeley had stopped construction on a £20m project just south of the river.

The scheme it speaks of is likely to be The Villas, which it describes as an "exclusive collection of seven, five-bedroom, family homes".

The project, on Beverley Road in SW13, includes secure basement parking.

Does it mean anything?

Admittedly, suspending a scheme as small as that is hardly likely to signal the downfall of London's residential construction market. But it's nonetheless an unusual move.

Berkeley Group didn't comment - including on the reasons behind the decision. But could it be to do with house prices in the area? London's most exclusive areas - of which Barnes is one - have suffered in recent months, as measures to put off foreign and buy-to-let buyers began to take their toll on top-end properties.

This map, put together by City A.M. last month, suggested prices in SW13 had fallen 2.5 per cent since the EU referendum. The average price was £1.46m in mid-August, down from £1.5m at the beginning of July.

Meanwhile, analysis of Land Registry data by the London Central Portfolio (LCP) last month suggested sales of new build homes in London had plummeted by 43 per cent in 2016, with those who traditionally buy new builds - namely, foreign buyers - put off.