London house prices up 1.2pc over February

Ben Southwood
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A SMALLER than usual February bump failed to put a dent in the rapid pace of London house price growth, according to data out yesterday.

London’s asking prices grew at 1.2 per cent in the second month of 2013, Rightmove said this morning, the slowest growth seen since 2009 in the usually strong month. But taking a wider view, prices were still steaming ahead, up 8.4 per cent on February 2012, according to the property site’s index.

The picture was similar for the country as a whole. UK asking prices climbed 2.8 per cent in February – well down on 2012’s 4.1 per cent expansion over the same period, but still pushing prices up to £235,741, the highest average recorded in the month since 2008.

“There has been a sprightly start to 2013, and while market activity remains patchy across locations and property type, some agents are report- ing their busiest new year since the onset of the credit crunch,” said Rightmove director Miles Shipside. But the divergence between the London and national markets was highlighted by different reasons given for moving house.

Where movers in the rest of the country are most likely to be downsizing, movers in the capital are most likely to be in the market to increase their living space, Rightmove said.

This is brought into sharpest focus by the breathtaking speed at which sellers are hiking asking prices in already-exclusive Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham. Prices in Kensington and Chelsea – already averaging £1.9m a year ago, were up 15.5 per cent to £2.2m in February, Rightmove said.

And in Hammersmith and Fulham the average asking price was within touching distance of £1m during February this month, having rocketed up 16.3 per cent over the past 12 months.