Berkeley Group has become the first volume house builder to restore operating margins to more than 20%.
The south east house builder said it had benefited from buying land cheaply during the downturn in affluent areas of London and the south east.
This helped to lift pre-tax profits 26% to £271m for the year to 30 April 2013. Berkeley Group reported revenues up a third to £1.38bn, driven by the sale of 3,712 new homes (2012: 3,565) at an average selling price 26% higher than last year at £354,000.
Chairman Tony Pidgley said: “The growth in earnings this year is a direct result of a period of sustained investment since early 2009 during which Berkeley has committed over £1bn to new land and £2.4bn to construction and completed over 12,000 new homes in London and the South of England.
“This investment has enabled us to regenerate derelict sites across the region, sustaining 16,000 jobs through increased activity and committing some £250m towards crucial local infrastructure improvements including schools, surgeries, parks and playgrounds.”
Berkeley spent £315m acquiring 10 new sites during the year and now has 73 of its 87 sites currently under construction.
Pidgley started the process to buy one of his own homes during the year with plans to pay £10.5m for an apartment at the firm’s Ebury Square scheme in Belgravia where flats cost up to £24m.
The firm has also been further boosted by recent government pledges to support struggling British house buyers by guaranteeing billions of pounds in home loans.
House builder Crest Nicholson, which returned to the stock market earlier this year, has delivered a 76% jump in first-half profits.
Crest chief executive Stephen Stone said the number of legal completions rose 9% to 810 units during the six months to 30 April, with open market completions driving the growth as they surged a third to 700.
The house builder said the rise in house completions and a 3.4% increase in selling price helped to push pre-tax profits before one-off items to £28.1m, up from £16m for the same period last year.
Stone said: “This represents a strong start to our return as a listed company.
“The business is responding to improved sales rates by increasing its production levels, although there is inevitably a lead time before higher sales translate fully into increased legal completions.
“Provided lenders and planning authorities also play their part, we would expect to see volume growth coming through more fully by the end of the calendar year.”
He said that purchaser demand for high quality homes, on well designed developments remained robust.
“With this improving sentiment and the opportunities available to the business, the Board remains confident in the outturn for the year."
Sales rates rose 18% to an average of 0.77 per outlet per week against 2012’s 0.65.
Forward sales at mid-June were up by half at £330.9m with 88% of this year's forecast secured.
During the period, a further 1,019 units were added to the short term land bank across 10 sites, increasing Crest’s outlet breadth and bringing the short-term land bank to 17,094 units.
Nearly two-thirds of the land bank is situated in London and the South East of England, economic prospects appear to be strongest.
A further 32% are in the South West of England, predominantly at prime locations in Bristol, Bath and at a recently converted strategic site at Tadpole Farm, Swindon.
Chief executive of the British Precast Concrete Federation, Martin Clarke, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Clarke has spent more than 40 years in the industry starting out with ARC Group and spending 12 years as marketing director of the British Cement Association before taking over as chief executive of the Leicester-based British Precast Concrete Federation in 2002.
He said: “I am overwhelmed at this recognition and especially delighted that the citation is for services to industry.
“This is a great boost for an unsung but critical British manufacturing industry.”
He added: “It is a reward for the small team in the Federation and my member companies and for the 30,000 men and women across the UK concrete products sector and its supply chain who have worked so extremely hard at improving our safety record, our environmental impact and at improving our image and professionalism.
“The last five years of recession have been tough and challenging but we are coming through it in good heart and with great optimism.”
He has been a passionate advocate for the British and worldwide concrete industry throughout his career.
Mike Leonard, ceo of Modern Masonry Alliance, said: “I’m delighted that Martin’s tireless work on behalf of the precast industry has been recognised in this way.
“He has been instrumental in driving forward major initiatives around health and safety, quality and the environment, which have succeeded in raising the bar for our industry.
“Most recently Martin turned over the ban of the industry publicising its involvement in the London 2012 Olympics. “
Career highlights • Played a key role in the overseas expansion of the ARC Group in the 70s and 80s into a major international aggregates and concrete business
• The formation of key alliances and trade bodies in the concrete industry in the 90s such as Britpave, Construct, Concrete Bridge Development Group, Basement Development Group, Traditional Housing Bureau and the Reinforced Concrete Council
• Editor and publisher of Concrete Quarterly magazine in the 90s; founder of the Lubetkin lecture series
• _Embedding safety, sustainability and innovation as the three principles of the British Precast Concrete Federation since 2002, with measured and significant improvements achieved by the industry.
• Joint founder of the Get Britain Building campaign in 2008/9
Specialist London house builder Telford Homes plans to splash out £50m on new developments in the fast-growing inner London market.
The firm today revealed that it would raise £20m through a fully-subscribed share placing and had bank facilities in place to take available funds to £50m.
Jon Di-Stefano, Chief Executive of Telford Homes, said: "Following the announcement of the group's results for the year to 31 March 2013, I am delighted that our exceptional sales performance and the many opportunities for Telford Homes to grow in London have resulted in our proposed placing to raise £20m being substantially oversubscribed.
"Together with our increased bank facility secured in April the equity raised will give the group nearly £50m to invest in new development opportunities, some of which have already been identified.
"This investment will accelerate the growth of Telford Homes and underlines our belief in the long term future of the housing market in London."
The housing market in inner London has been particularly strong in recent months. Telford said that the boom has led to an unprecedented pre-sales position with 99% of the expected open market completions for the year to 31 March 2014 having already been sold, and over half of the expected open market completions for each of the years ended 31 March 2015 and 2016 having also been sold.
Telford has been actively buying land over the last 18 months creating a development pipeline of 2,260 homes that are expected to deliver over £650m of revenue over the next three to four years.
It said there that there are many more opportunities in inner London which would require extra funds to secure.
New homes "Think Tank", The Futures Group, details how to rise to the challenge of delivering better homes for the consumer.
Contributors to The Futures Group include leading experts from national house builders, manufacturers and regulatory bodies.
The UK Government has set out an ambitious plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. The Zero Carbon Hub is here to help you understand the challenges, issues and opportunities involved in developing, building and marketing your low and zero carbon homes. www.zerocarbonhub.org