Belfast Telegraph

Berkeley upgrades profit forecast amid ‘resilient’ trading

Britain’s EU divorce is impacting sentiment, the housebuilder said.

Housebuilder Berkeley has upgraded its profit guidance by at least 5% following what it called a “resilient” start to the year.

The upgrade comes after the group has repeatedly warned of a profits fall next year, having previously forecast a drop of around 30%.

The group – which is focused on London and the South East – also said on Friday that revenue fell 0.7% at £1.65 billion in the six months ended October 31.

Pre-tax profit fell over 25% to £401.2 million and Berkeley sold 2,027 homes in at an average selling price of £740,000.

The group said: “With the resilient start to the year, Berkeley is increasing its pre-tax profit guidance for the current year by at least 5% and now anticipates a similar split between the first and second half to last year when 55% was earned in the first six months of the year.”

On Brexit, Berkeley said that while Britain’s EU divorce is impacting sentiment and confidence, it believes London will remain a “vibrant, tolerant and diverse global city” that will continue to see demand for housing increase.

Boss Rob Perrins told the Press Association that he backs Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement because it guarantees “friction-less trade”.

He said: “Businesses want certainty but people have to be pragmatic. We need friction-less trade and the agreement gives us that.”

The firm added that the market in London and the South East “lacks urgency” and underlying demand is constrained by a macro uncertainties and policy interventions, such as high transaction costs and mortgage restrictions.

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