Berkeley Group’s sales reservations in the four months to January 31 were a fifth lower than historic norms, slightly better than analyst expectations. Financial Times

The group said in an interim management statement: 'These are the conditions for which we planned, [they] do not alter Berkeley’s ability to meet its revised strategy.'

Rob Perrins, finance director, said: 'Our high level of forward sales is shielding us against any economic downturn,' highlighting the fact that many of its completions originated before the housing market slowed in the second half of 2007. He pointed out that Berkeley was selling flats forward beyond April 2009.

The statement gave few details, but analysts said it pointed to full-year results at the top end of expectations.