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Berkeley Group 'a bet on Brexit'

Berkeley Group

Shares in Berkeley Group - which focuses on London and the south east - are currently up around 2.5% despite the housebuilder reporting a 25% drop in profit for the first half of the year.

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst George Salmon says the firm's more than 5% upgrade for full year profit and a pledge to boost shareholder returns has reassured investors.

But he warns sentiment on the stock will be closely linked to whatever happens to Brexit.

"London could well be in the eye of the storm should a disorderly departure trigger a housing meltdown.

"While the shares remain something of a binary bet on Brexit in the short-term, looking further afield Berkeley’s niche operating model and enviable track record mean we think it should be a long-term winner," he says.

House price growth at six-year low

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UK house prices in November fell 1.4% month-on-month, 1.1% quarterly and increased by just 0.3% annually with the rate of price growth at its lowest level since December 2012, according to the latest Halifax House Price index.

It says the average house price is now £224,578.

"While this is the lowest rate of growth in six years, it remains within our forecast range of 0% to 3% for 2018," said Halifax managing director Russell Galley.

Empty houses: MOD homes standing empty across UK
More than 11,000 MOD homes across the UK are empty, costing the taxpayer more than £25m a year in rent and maintenance.