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Berkeley insiders buy shares amid gloomy London forecasts

Directors are confident even as the London housing market faces headwinds
Berkeley insiders buy shares amid gloomy London forecasts
  • Sales at Berkeley are up
  • Company "well placed to capitalise"

Board members of London-focused housebuilder Berkeley and their wives have bought £2.7mn-worth of shares following a positive set of results for the company – even as experts predict a downturn in the London housing market.

Chief executive Robert Perrins and his wife Vanessa Perrins snapped up £1.85mn-worth of shares at 3,695p a share adding to the £1.5mn Mr Perrins spent on shares in June last year at £4,621 a share. Both purchases represent a discount when compared to Vanessa Perrins’ sale of £11mn in shares in January last year at 4,743p after having sold £715,000 in shares in October 2020.

Meanwhile, Julia Barker, wife of interim chairman Glyn Barker, bought £73,000 in shares as non-executive director William Jackson and his wife Jane Jackson bought £591,000 and incoming chairman and Schroders veteran Michael Dobson bought £145,000.

Dobson has been appointed as a permanent replacement for former chairman and founder Tony Pidgeley who died in June 2020. Barker had been serving as interim since Pidgeley’s death.

The share transactions follow a strong set of results for the group. Berkeley's cash due on forward sales has risen to £2.2bn from £1.7bn in 2021, while pre-tax profit, earnings per share and turnover have all grown for the second year in a row following their distinct plummet in the year of Covid-19. But dark clouds loom for the housebuilder, with Savills predicting that London house prices will fall 1 per cent next year with three years of sluggish growth to follow.

Charlie Huggins, head of equities at Wealth Club, said the company is better placed than most housebuilders in the event of a housing crash. “And if the housing market stays robust, which it might do given the chronic shortage of housing especially in London, the group’s exciting development pipeline means it looks well placed to capitalise,” he added.