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Property sales in central London hit all-time low as soaring values bite

  • 21/03/2017
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Average prices in the capital hit a new high but the number of sales slumped to record low last year. Just 3,330 sales took place in Prime Central London in 2016, according to figures released by HM Land Registry.

This was a substantial 29% fall on the previous year, and the lowest number of annual sales on record in the area.

Despite the slump, average prices reached a new high of £1,818,262, due to a rally in the last quarter, which saw prices increase 14% over the previous quarter and an additional 118 sales.

Overall, prices increased 3.75% over the previous year.

“Having taken a big knock following last April’s new Additional Rate Stamp Duty and the shock of Brexit, evidence of a recovery in Prime Central London in Q4 is positive news. As an international buying market, the weakness in sterling, combined with the Trump-effect and increasing instability in Europe, appears to have drawn investors back to central London as a safe haven asset class,” said Naomi Heaton, CEO of London Central Portfolio

“The uptick has been led, in particular, by Kensington and Chelsea which saw a 24% quarterly increase in prices,” she added.

The bigger picture

In Greater London transactions were down by 21%, compared to an 8% drop in England and Wales as a whole.

The average property price across the country is £278,167, up 2% on 2015.

Heaton added: “Despite Government initiatives to support buyers with reductions in basic rate Stamp Duty and their flagship Help to Buy scheme, it appears the domestic market is still struggling.

“Salary caps on mortgage lending, which do not reflect the ratio between house prices and earnings, are hampering buyers to get on the housing ladder and their ability to trade up. This has been exacerbated by the failure to meet affordable housing targets, a trend which shows little sign of reversing.”

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