Shares in Berkeley were up on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the housebuilder reported a rise in pre-tax profit in the full year ended 30 April.

Pre-tax profit in the period increased 23.5 per cent to £136.2 million, although net cash at the end of the period dropped from £316.9 million to £42.0 million.

During the period the group bought back 3.8 million shares for £30 million, at an average price of 785 pence per share.

Rob Perrins, Managing Director of Berkeley Group, said, "I am pleased to report that Berkeley has performed strongly during the year, exceeding the targets set for both return on equity and land bank growth. The 20.2% growth in earnings per share reflects the depth of demand for well located property in London and the South East where supply is constrained and Berkeley has the land and expertise to deliver quality homes and places. In addition, Berkeley has acquired some 3,600 plots across 24 sites in excellent locations during the year, and has increased the number of active sites in line with our strategy to invest at this point in the cycle.

"The increase in forward sales of 25.5%, land bank growth of 13.1% and our planning successes contribute to an improvement in operational visibility. This provides us with confidence that Berkeley can maintain the rate of earnings growth in the current year and increase the value of the land bank over the next two years, through a combination of optimisation and land acquisition, before commencing the return in cash to shareholders envisaged in the long term plan."

By 08:45 shares in Berkeley Group were up 9.37 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 1,237.00 pence per share.