Bloomberg News

Berkeley Plans New London Projects as It Woos Foreign Buyers

October 21, 2011

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Berkeley Group Holdings Plc, the U.K.’s largest homebuilder by market value, plans to announce four projects in central London next year as the company promotes homes to foreign buyers.

The properties will be built on land already owned by the Cobham, England-based company, Paul Vallone, managing director of Berkeley Homes said at a press conference in Istanbul today.

Vallone was in the Turkish city to attract buyers for the 375 Kensington High Street residential project as the proportion of foreigners buying London properties increases. The company has promoted the 750 million-pound ($1.2 billion) first phase of the development in Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and the U.S. before presenting it in Britain on Nov. 17.

“We are in the planning process of the projects,” to be introduced next year, Vallone said at a press conference. The properties will be marketed to potential buyers from February to August, he said without being more specific.

Berkeley has focused on building homes in London and southeast England, where the market has been the most resilient since the financial crisis. Its shares have soared 33 percent this year compared with a 16.8 percent rise at Persimmon Plc, the next-best performer among U.K. homebuilders.

Overseas investors are turning to London real estate to protect assets from political and economic instability at home and take advantage of a weak pound. Asian buyers accounted for the majority of new home purchases in central London for the first time this year, according to broker Knight Frank LLP.

The Kensington project is being developed by St. Edward, a joint venture owned by Berkeley and Prudential Plc. The total investment will be more than 2 billion pounds, Vallone said. The company allocated 25 apartments from the first phase for Turkish buyers, who showed “great interest,” he said.

The development will be completed starting in the fourth quarter of 2013, Tim Wright, a director at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said by e-mail. Prime central London property values may increase by 30 percent through 2015, he said.

Jones Lang and Triangle Group are jointly marketing the Kensington project.

--Editors: Ross Larsen, Andrew Blackman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul eersoy@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net.


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