Rocketing labour costs and a shortages of land were reported by South-east-based housebuilder Berkely Group when it announced its interim results on Tuesday.

However, analysts said Berkeley was better placed to cope with the overheating market than other housebuilders. 'The company has a strong land bank, whereas others are now buying land at the top of the market', said one.

In the six months to 31 October 1999, pre-tax profit rose, 15% to £60.3m on turnover up from £332m to £368m.