Strong cash position enables housebuilder to profit from land purchase opportunities

Housebuilder Berkeley said today that its full-year performance was in line with expectations in spite of sales falling to 50% below the historical average this financial year.

In an interim management statement for the period from 1 May to 31 August, the UK-based group said that cash generation had been “ahead of plan” and it had increased its net cash position to £71m, compared with a net debt of £4.5m at the start of the year.

Berkeley Homes, appartment scheme in West Sussex

Berkeley added that its “strong cash position” was enabling it to take advantage of the “numerous land opportunities” coming onto the market.

The group also announced that its shareholders had agreed to a restructuring of the final three pounds per share due to be returned under a scheme of arrangement, which will now be paid as a series of dividend payments and share buyback.

Berkeley welcomed the government’s initiatives to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder but said normal activity levels in construction and sales of housing would not come back without the return of liquidity to the mortgage market and the “feel-good factor”.