Profits and costs rise at housebuilder Berkeley

Housebuilder Berkeley shrugged off increased prices for building materials to boost profit in the year of Covid-19.

The company said that pre-tax profit had hit £518.1 million, a rise of 2.9%, in the year to the end of April.

The profit was marginally ahead of the £516 million that analysts had predicted, yet still far behind the company’s 2019 levels.

Builders have faced strong demand in recent months as house buyers try to cash in on the stamp duty holiday.

However Berkeley’s London focus – though it also builds in Birmingham and the South East – made the holiday less impactful for its clients.

Stamp duty will not be charged on properties worth up to £500,000 until June 30 this year, however the average selling price of the 2,825 homes that Berkeley sold in the 12 months was £770,000.

This was a steep increase from the year before when the average Berkeley home sold for £677,000.

It is unclear if some of this price rise is due to increased costs for building supplies since the start of this year – most of the 2,800 homes will have been sold before then.

Regardless, while build costs were stable in 2020, they have risen at a rate of 4% per year since the start of 2021.

This was because of a hike in the cost of building materials as more building drives up demand at a time when supply chains are adjusting to Brexit and Covid-19.

Revenue rose nearly 15% to £2.2 billion while net cash is now £1.1 billion.

“This is a very strong platform from which to continue serving the most under-supplied housing markets in the country once the disruption caused by the pandemic dissipates and London is again able to flourish as a global destination for culture, entertainment, education, recreation and business,” said chief executive Rob Perrins.

“London is one of the world’s greatest open and welcoming cities and it has been wonderful to witness its vibrancy returning over recent weeks, with the gradual lifting of restrictions. People thrive on its energy, opportunity and unparalleled attributes.”