Berkeley chairman says capital’s status under threat if UK votes to leave EU

Housebuilder Berkeley has backed a vote to remain in the EU.

Announcing its results for the year to 30 April 2016, the firm said the referendum is “significant for the UK’s housebuilding and property sector” and said it “supports a vote to remain in the EU”.

Berkeley chairman Tony Pidgley said: “London’s status as the world’s best big city is underpinned by labour mobility, cultural diversity and a constant influx of talent and investment from around the world and the UK economy in turn is powered by the success of our capital city.”

In its results, the housebuilder said there is robust underlying demand for housing but added that “uncertainty impacting current transaction levels with reservations over 5 months to May 2016 down 20%, on reduced new launches in run-up to EU Referendum.”

The firm posted a preliminary pre-tax profit of £531m, down from £540m the previous year.

Revenue was down to £2.05bn from £2.12bn the previous year, while forward sales were up to £3.25bn compared to £2.95bn last year.

Meanwhile Berkeley has also launched its own prefab housing design.

Called Urban House, the firm said the concept enables twice as many houses to be built on a site compared to traditional terrace housing, with space saved as back gardens are swapped for private roof gardens.

Berkeley said the three-story prefab homes can work for either private or affordable housing.

The first 22 homes of this prototype have been built on two streets at Kidbrooke Village in Greenwich in London, while others are under construction at Green Park Village in Reading.

The homes will be delivered using a modular off-site system and then transported to site on a lorry, which the housebuilder claims could speed up delivery times to 14 weeks.

It claims the new prefab concept will offer local authorities “a new way of providing high density family homes”, with the increase in density will making “smaller sites viable for residential development which would not otherwise be possible”.