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LONDON-The mixed use and residential property developer Berkeley Group increased its pre-tax profits by 24% in the year ended 30 April 2001. Pre-tax profits grew from £143.6 million ($202 million) to £178.1 million ($251 million) on turnover up from £799 million ($1.125 billion) to £867 million ($1.22 billion).

Sales of new homes were actually down from 2,915 to 2,542 units, but the average selling price rose from £251,000 ($354,000) to £278,000 ($392,000). And at the year end Berkeley had a landbank of 19,400 plots, up from 18,200 the year before.

Chairman Roger Lewis says: ‘The housing market in the past 12 months has been very solid. Demand moderated in the spring of 2000 with the increases in stamp duty and interest rates, but remained satisfactory for the rest of the year. Early in 2001 there were some concerns about the impact on the housing market of the dot com shake out and the falls in the stock market. Any such effect was offset by falling interest rates, however, and the market has remained healthy for the first half of 2001.’

Berkeley also has more than two million sf of commercial space under development, primarily in mixed-use projects. In February 2001 it opened its Gunwharf Quays project in Portsmouth, Hampshire, which includes 180,000 sf of factory outlet shopping, 150,000 sf of leisure, 35,000 sf of offices and 18 restaurants, cafes and bars. A 50% interest in the development has been sold to Land Securities for around £80 million ($113 million).

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