Mortgage debt leans on south east of England

LONDON and the south east of England make up nearly half of Great Britain’s outstanding property loans, as new figures show how the region dominates the mortgage market.

London and the south east have £388.7bn of outstanding mortgage debt, 43 per cent of Britain’s £891.4bn total lending.

The capital alone holds £227.3bn, more than a quarter of the grand total for the country.

New figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) yesterday break down the country’s mortgage trends to postcode level.

Seven postcodes in south west London are in the country’s top 10 for mortgage debt, and the top 65 postcodes by lending are all in London or the south east of England.

Official figures released yesterday also recorded the change in house prices over the year to October, with London once again dominating by a considerable distance.

Prices surged by 12 per cent during the year in the capital, in comparison to an average increase of 5.5 per cent.

Excluding increases in London and the south east, prices only rose by 3.1 per cent over the 12-month period.

Prices in the capital are now more than twice the level of those outside of the south east: an average London house now costs £437,000, in comparison to £194,000 across the rest of the country.

Three of England’s nine regions have surpassed their nominal pre-crisis house price level, while all of northern England still hangs well below 2007-08 levels.

“Collectively the property market is singing a sweet tune, with prices picking up across the country – although London remains the driving force behind the large annual jump,” said Richard Sexton, director of E.surv chartered surveyors.

He added: “To get to the crux of the matter, the volume of house-building needs to be dramatically increased, particularly in the capital, where the competition for homes is forcing house prices up at a rapid rate.”