Berkeley Group Increases Land Bank

As Part of its Interim Statement  issued last Friday 3/11/2010 the Berkeley Group gave details of its increased land bank, including traditional sites (one assumes not classed as brown field) in St Albans, Oxford and Horsham. Other sites acquired as their report suggests are in Prime London locations.

An Extract of the Land Section of the Interim statement is given below:

Land Holdings

 At 31 October 2010, the Group (including joint ventures) controlled some 28,914 plots with an estimated gross margin of £2,301 million.  This compares with 28,099 plots and an estimated gross margin of £2,038 million at 30 April 2010. Of the total 28,914 plots, 28,647 plots (April 2010: 27,094) are owned and included on the balance sheet.  In addition, 226 plots (April 2010: 935) are contracted and 41 plots (April 2010: 70) have terms agreed. In excess of 95% of our holdings are on brown-field or recycled land.  

The increase in the land bank is a result of new land acquisitions in the period which has seen Berkeley agree 13 new sites, covering some 2,500 plots.  These new sites include prime London sites in Westminster and on Hammersmith Embankment, traditional sites in St Albans and Oxford and a site in Horsham for over 1,000 units acquired through strategic land in its long-term pipeline. All of the sites agreed are in excellent locations in London and the South East with strong underlying demand for quality new homes where Berkeley can create vibrant new communities and enhance value through its development expertise. 

In addition to the 28,914 plots in its land bank, and after accounting for the transfer of the site at Horsham acquired in the period to the land bank, Berkeley continues to have approximately 10,000 plots in its long-term pipeline, which it envisages delivering over the next ten years.  This includes the latter phases of Kidbrooke and Woodberry Down, strategic land and a number of sites being worked up within St Edward Homes, Berkeley’s joint venture with Prudential.  Of a more long-term nature; Berkeley hopes these sites will come through into the land bank but they currently have an uncertain outcome due to planning policy or vacant possession issues.

In terms of planning, Berkeley entered the year having achieved new or revised planning consents on 38 of its sites in the run up to the May Election.  It is therefore very pleasing to have had a number of further notable successes in the first half of this year.  These include sites in Belgravia, Westminster, Greenwich, Roehampton and Oxford, and revised consents for schemes in Battersea and Acton and the second phase of the student scheme being developed in Clapham for Imperial College.  Through the ongoing re-planning and re-assessment process, the land bank includes a net reduction of approximately 400 plots due to a combination of re-planning densities and increasing individual unit sizes and removing plots that are no longer commercially viable. 

St Edward Homes accounts for some 1,400 plots in the land bank across three sites.  These include: Stanmore Place, where the first phase is selling well and development on later phases progressing and 375 Kensington High Street, which has been successfully launched to the market and where demolition work has begun.  In addition, Berkeley continues to work with Prudential to identify further sites to which St Edward Homes can add value and three of these are in the long-term pipeline.

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