Housebuilder also reports booming forward sales for coming year

Berkeley Group has defied weak sentiment in the housing market by flagging full-year results at the top end of estimates.

In a trading statement the urban regeneration specialist, led by chief executive Tony Pidgley, said forward sales in the year ending 30 April 2009 and beyond are “well in excess” of 2007 levels.

The current consensus forecast for the year ending 30 April 2008 is turnover of £1bn and pre-tax profit of £212m.

It said reservations in the past four months were 20% below historic levels but the drop was balanced by the favourable market conditions on which it capitalised on in the first half.

Kaupthing analyst Kevin Cammack said: “How typically Pidgley! When the industry is booming sound cautious, when it's sinking sound optimistic. Its statement reads very confidently given these troubled times for housebuilders.”