Housebuilder Berkeley is on track to boost turnover by nearly 50% after record house sales this month and last.
Group chairman Roger Lewis said sales in these two months, the first of Berkeley's financial year, had each topped £110m. The average sale price so far has been £300,000.

He said: "If we keep this up, sales over the year would be £1.3bn. It was a record May and this month is even stronger. Volumes are a record for June and so are the margins."

Managing director Tony Pidgley was equally bullish about prospects, despite City concerns that interest rates rises may hit housing demand.

He said: "The housing market is as strong as we've ever seen it.

"Interest rates are not a big factor. It's more to do with the feelgood factor and confidence in the economy. It would need a real disaster to change that."

They made the comments as Berkeley unveiled another record set of results, with pre-tax profit for the year to 30 April jumping 24% from £143.6m to £178.1m.

Turnover was also higher, up from £799m last year to £867m. Unit sales fell 373 to 2542 but the average selling price increased £27,000 to £278,000.

The group's shares fell 28p to 721p because of City concerns that 40% of buyers are investors, leaving it vulnerable to a downturn.

The group also announced that main board directors David Martin and Michael Freshney were stepping down. Martin, the commercial director, leaves the group at the end of next month; Freshney retires next year.