Business

Saturday 25 November 2017

Weakness in London cools wider British housing market

Asking prices rose 1.1pc from a year earlier, Rightmove said on Monday, compared to 3.1pc in August.
Asking prices rose 1.1pc from a year earlier, Rightmove said on Monday, compared to 3.1pc in August.

David Goodman

UK house prices grew at the slowest annual pace in more than five years this month as a slump in London weighed on the market.

Asking prices rose 1.1pc from a year earlier, Rightmove said on Monday, compared to 3.1pc in August. Autumn traditionally sees prices pick up after a summer lull - this year had the first month-on-month decline in September in four years.

As house price growth slows in response to sluggish economic growth and a squeeze on consumers in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK capital has been the hardest hit. The outlook for house prices further dimmed last week, when the Bank of England suggested it may soon raise interest rates for the first time in a decade.

Asking prices for London have dropped 3.2pc in the past year, the most this decade and a far cry from growth of more than 20pc in 2014, Rightmove said.

That chimes with a survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors last week, where real-estate agents in London gave their bleakest assessment since 2008.

The most expensive London boroughs saw the biggest drops, with Kensington and Chelsea falling more than 10pc in the past year, while those in Hammersmith and Fulham dropped 8pc.

That was partly offset by gains in Hackney, Southwark and Bexley, while, nationally, the northeast, Yorkshire and East Midlands also saw prices increase. The slower growth is attracting more buyers, with the number of sales agreed climbing 4.8pc from a year earlier.

It's also easing the burden on stretched UK consumers, grappling with sluggish pay increases and faster inflation. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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