June 20, 2018 / 6:17 AM / 4 months ago

UK builder Berkeley beats profit expectations

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - London-focussed builder Berkeley posted a better-than-expected 15 percent rise in pretax profit to 935 million pounds ($1.23 billion) but said profitability would fall in 2018/19 by around 30 percent, in line with analyst estimates.

Berkeley, which primarily operates near the top of the London property market, built 3,536 homes in the 12 months to the end of April, down 9 percent but saw its average selling price rise 6 percent to 715,000 pounds.

The builder says its profitability in 2017/18 reflected a “peak” due to the sites it acquired between 2010 and 2013, when the market was particularly buoyant.

It also cautioned over the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union, which has made some foreign buyers more reluctant to buy in London’s once red-hot property market.

“Political and economic uncertainty, in part due to the uncertainty around Brexit, weigh on sentiment but do present opportunities for customers who can look beyond this short-term volatility,” it said in its statement on Wednesday. ($1 = 0.7596 pounds) (Reporting by Costas Pitas, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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