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20/03/2017

New Home Starts Decline 30% In London - Berkeley

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Berkeley Group has reported a 30% fall in the number of housing states in London.

In a trading update covering 01 November 2016 to 28 February 2017, the house builder revealed reservation rates in the seven months post-Brexit between August and February were also down 16% compared to the previous year. However, sales levels have recovered over the previous two months to sit ahead of last year.

Berkeley stated the decline has been caused to delays in the planning system and added its concern over the under-supply of new homes in the capital.

"When coupled with the planning environment and increased demands from the combination of affordable housing, CIL, Section 106 obligations and review mechanisms, this has resulted in new starts in London falling by some 30%," the Group said.

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"Berkeley is concerned by this under-supply and the knock-on effect it has on the provision of housing of all tenures which, if not addressed, represents a threat to London remaining the inclusive and open global city which is so important to London and the UK's growth and prosperity. We therefore welcome the Government's White Paper and the Mayor's continued focus on housing but note that these will take time to effect change, given the competing priorities."

Elsewhere, the company is set to make at least £3 billion in pre-tax profits over the five years to 30 April 2021.

"Pre-tax profits for the year ended 30 April 2017 are expected to be at the top end of analysts' expectations, with the actual outturn dependent upon completion timing on Berkeley's larger developments. A similar level of profitability is anticipated for the year ending 30 April 2018," the company said.

(LM/MH)

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