London sees steep fall in property price growth, latest ONS figures show

Taylor Scott International News

UK house prices increased by 5.5% in the year to April 2015, down from 9.6% in the year to March 2015, according to the latest official figures, but London saw an even steeper decline. The data from the Office of National Statistics shows the growth in prices in London fell from 11.2% in the year to March to 4.3% over the 12 months to April. This is the lowest rate of growth in the capital city since October 2012. A regional breakdown shows that house price annual inflation was 5.8% in England, 1.3% in Wales, 2.2% in Scotland and 8.8% in Northern Ireland. Overall the pace of annual house price growth has fallen across the majority of the UK but increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the East of 9.6% and the South East of 8.4%. Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5% in the 12 months to April 2015 and on a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices fell by 1.3% between March and April 2015. The data also shows that in April 2015, prices paid by first time buyers were 5.8% higher on average than in April 2014. For existing owners prices increased by 5.4% for the same period. Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of Marsh & Parsons, commented that property values in the East and South East of England have seen the biggest boosts on a yearly basis, while annual growth in the capital has more than halved in the month since March. ‘But this was simply part of a wider slowdown submerging the country in April, when we were still wading through competing election promises, and when demand at the highest rungs of the market was being dampened by a possible mansion tax,’ he said. ‘Now the ink has dried on the ballot papers, we’re back onto firmer territory. More recent barometers of the property market indicate favourable conditions with low mortgage rates and cheaper stamp duty costs keeping demand for homes buoyant, and carrying along a tide of buyer confidence,’ he explained. ‘At the frontline of the property market, we’ve already seen a 5% jump in new buyer registrations since May, and we’ll soon see a new offensive in activity levels as a result, which will help the onward march of price growth,’ he added. According to Graham Davidson, managing director of Sequre Property Investment, pre-election jitters and uncertainty will have no doubt been a key factor in London’s slowdown, along with the shift in buying patterns of overseas buyers, who for many years over fuelled the market but are now favouring other areas that offer better and more stable long term returns. ‘Away from London and the south east, the majority of the country is experiencing more modest growth and in areas such as the North West where growth is at 3.1%, there are a wealth of opportunities for those looking to make their capital… Continue reading →

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