Housebuilder Berkeley sees earnings at top end

City A.M. Reporter
Housebuilder Berkeley Group Holdings expects to post full-year earnings towards the top end of expectations after winter sales reservations jumped and visitor numbers held steady.

The company, which specialises in luxury flats, also said that it hoped to achieve further earnings growth in the coming year, should market conditions permit.

Sales reservations in the November to February period were 25 per cent ahead of a year earlier while forward sales currently exceed £800m, Berkeley said.

"The average numbers of visitors per site since the beginning of the year has been consistent with the same period last year, reflecting the current mortgage market conditions, with an increase in the number of outlets leading to the higher levels of sales overall," Berkeley said in a statement.

The housebuilder bought a further 1,000 plots on eight new sites during the period, bringing total plots acquired over the course of the year to 3,500 across 21 sites.

"The performance of the business over the last four months provides the board with confidence and Berkeley anticipates reporting earnings at the high end of its expectations for the year ended 30 April 2011," the company said.

"Investment in work in progress will enable a further growth in earnings in 2011/12 if overall market conditions permit."

It described build costs as benign with higher fuel and commodities prices offset by excess capacity in the construction sector but that it was monitoring the situation carefully.