Business

Berkeley says house building to pass 2007 peak by 30%

House-building Image copyright PA
Image caption Berkeley Group says its prospects have been boosted by the government's Help to Buy scheme

Housebuilder Berkeley Group has said it expects to complete 30% more homes this year than during the 2007 market peak.

It has credited the government's Help to Buy scheme with boosting the property market and speeding up the number of new homes being built.

The firm's forecast comes shortly after the chancellor's decision to extend the equity loan scheme for new homes until 2020, in England at least.

Shares in UK housebuilders rose sharply on the news on Monday.

An extra £6bn would be put into the English Help to Buy scheme, George Osborne said at the weekend, allowing a further 120,000 new homes to be built.

The extension, from its current end date of December 2016, will be confirmed in Wednesday's Budget.

Berkeley Group said its forward sales of new homes were worth more than £1.9bn by the end of February, up from £1.75bn at the end of October last year.

It said most of the demand was coming from London and the south of England.

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