Boom in London slows as reverse hits prime areas
LONDON house-price growth slowed in January after the best year since 2006 as values slid in the most expensive districts of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.
Asking prices in the UK capital increased 0.2pc to £514,704 (€646,000), after growing 10.6pc last year, the operator of Britain's biggest property website Rightmove said.
Values in Westminster slid 8.3pc, while those in Kensington dropped 6.9pc.
"The average asking price of property coming to market is having a pause after a pretty hectic year of heady rises," said Miles Shipside, a director at Rightmove in London.
"It's traditionally a quieter time of year. London needs more properties for sale to lessen upward price pressure."
London is leading the housing market as supply fails to keep up with demand and the capital's economy powers UK expansion.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney predicted last week that housing will continue to strengthen in 2014, and while policy makers have downplayed concern that prices could spiral, they scaled back a mortgage lending programme last year.
Capital Economics said in a report this month that London's economy will expand 4pc in 2014 and 2015. It has projected a 3pc annual increase in UK gross domestic product in the same period.
"London almost certainly led the UK's growth rate in 2013," said Richard Holt, an economist at Capital Economics.
"We project that to continue this year and next, with several of the UK's more northern or peripheral regions and nations bringing up the rear."
Rightmove isn't the only report to show London leading the property market. Data from the Office for National Statistics last week showed that UK annual house-price growth was 5.4pc in November, compared with 11.6pc in the capital.
Excluding London and the southeast of England, average prices in the UK rose 3.1pc.
London has Britain's most expensive properties, with the average value in Kensington £2.05m in January, according to Rightmove.
That compares with the national average of £243,861. In Westminster, homeowners are looking for around £1.39m for their properties.
Nationally, values climbed 1pc this month, the largest ever January increase in the price of property coming to market, Rightmove said.
Values in Yorkshire and Humber increased 4.5pc, while prices in the north declined 1pc. (Bloomberg)