London housing market slower than rest of UK

Chris Papadopoullos
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Prices in London have shot up in recent years – yet slowed down over the summer
HOUSING market activity in London is now lagging behind the rest of the country, new figures reveal today.

In the three months to September, the number of transactions in Eng­land and Wales was 15.4 per cent higher than the same period last year, according to LSL property services.

However, the number of transactions in London grew only by 2.7 per cent over the same period.

This also compares with an annual increase of 22.4 per cent in completed transactions in the West Midlands.

The diverging housing activity is affecting prices.

Prices, excluding London, continue to rise in year-on-year terms, and are now up to 7.4 per cent, the joint highest level of growth this year.

Meanwhile, London price growth has flat-lined, rising by only 0.4 per cent in September – the smallest monthly increase for 15 months.

Official figures released yesterday showed that the number of house completions grew by 10 per cent over the 12 months to April 2014.

However, building rates are still below pre-crisis levels.

“At the very top end of the housing market in prime central areas of London, growth is subsiding. Property prices have dropped in six out of the seven most expensive boroughs over the course of the last month, in exclusive sought-after enclaves such as Westminster, Rich­mond and Camden,” said David Newnes, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents.

“But just as London bucks the country-wide trend, the city does not behave as one uniform entity. In lower-priced boroughs such as Lewisham and Haringey, prices have continued orderly pro­gress in October.”