FTSE 100: Berkeley Group to keep ‘cautious approach' as home sales fall 25%
London-focused housebuilder Berkeley (BKG.L) has said sales are still running 25% behind compared to a year ago, amid continued "volatility" in the UK property sector.
The sales drop comes against a backdrop of higher interest rates affecting mortgages and increased costs for potential property buyers.
The housebuilder said it is taking a "cautious" approach to releasing new phases of developments to the market.
“Whilst the prevailing volatility in the market persists, Berkeley will continue to match supply to demand, adopting a cautious approach to releasing new phases to the market as we focus on the quality of our forward sales,” the company said.
Berkeley nevertheless kept its outlook for the financial year unchanged.
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The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) listed developer said UK housing sales since the end of September were down around 25% from the September to February period of the previous year.
Berkeley said it has seen sales pricing remain “firm” in recent months and “above business plan levels” despite pressures in the market.
It is on track to deliver pre-tax earnings of approximately £600m ($719m) for the year ending 30 April. The group expects pre-tax earnings of at least £1.05bn for 2024 and 2025 fiscal years.
Selling prices of its homes, which are around double the national average, given its London focus, remained “firm and above business plan levels” in recent months, while build cost inflation showed some “early signs of moderating”.
Berkeley shares fell by 0.45% in morning trading on Friday. They have risen by around 6% over the last year.
Victoria Scholar, head of investments at Interactive Investor, said: “The stark contrast in financial performance pre and post September highlights the extent to which the mini-budget’s fallout for mortgage costs caused shockwaves across the housing market.
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“Berkeley Group suffered a sharp drop in sales and the market is still reeling from the fiscal fiasco.”
Berkeley said it will continue to focus on cost control, with build cost inflation showing early signs of moderating.
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