Estate agents label price hikes unsustainable

ASKING prices for London houses have soared again this month and are climbing at an unsustainable rate, according to new figures released today by Rightmove.

According to the property site, asking prices climbed by a huge 10.2 per cent between September and October alone. The average asking price for a house in greater London is now £544,232, over £50,000 more than in September, as the energetic autumn property market begins.

In comparison, asking prices in England and Wales, excluding London, have risen by only 2.8 per cent over the same period.

The index also shows that prices have spiked by 13.8 per cent in the last 12 months in the capital, even before the start of chancellor George Osborne’s controversial Help to Buy scheme, and despite stagnant wages. The average outer London asking price has reached £461,937, more than double the figure for the rest of England and Wales, despite typical wages only being 60 per cent higher.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said that soaring price tags have been driven from the centre: “Although not sustainable in the longer term, some agents currently report there is a buying frenzy in parts of prime inner London, with available stock so low that their shelves are now bare.”

Shipside added: “London is a world city where overseas investors see real estate as a safe asset, at a time when safe assets are increasingly scarce.”