Berkeley shareholders meet at the company’s AGM today where the chairman will tell them of the need for planning and tax reform.
“Housing has to become a national priority, not just for government but for the whole country,” Mr Pidgley says. “This does require the presumption in favour of sustainable development within the NPPF to be enforced. Housing can also be part of the economic recovery as every home built by Berkeley creates some 3.5 jobs alongside the associated benefits of affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, creating fantastic new homes and vibrant places.
“The government has a vital role to play in stimulating investment by creating a stable, consistent and transparent platform to allow housing to be developed. However, the changes in planning and the consultation on the taxation of residential properties have introduced uncertainties for businesses such as Berkeley.”
It was only a couple of months ago the Mr Pidgley made similar comments, criticising the governmnet for lack of coherence in its policies. (See previous report here.)
Berkeley’s trading for the four months to 31 August has been in line with the board's expectations. The completion of 149 properties at Grosvenor Waterside in the period, out of the 185 remaining properties that had previously been forecast to be delivered over the next three years, has benefitted earnings in the current year which are now anticipated to be at the top end of analysts' expectations.
Berkeley has acquired three sites since the beginning of the year, predominantly on deferred terms, in Wapping, Hammersmith and Chiswick, and is on target to achieve its aim of growing the value of the potential gross margin in its land holdings to £3 billion by April 2014.
In his interim management statement Mr Pidgley said: “Market conditions continue to remain resilient with London benefitting from its World Class status which has been enhanced by the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. Limited supply of quality new housing, particularly in the best locations in London and the South East, continues to provide strong support for house prices despite the underlying economic conditions and lack of feelgood factor.”