London housing market stalls as countrywide weakness hits

Ben Southwood
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HOUSING engine London ground to a halt in September, data from Hometrack revealed today, as house prices across the UK slipped.

Average prices in the capital defied the decline seen in almost all other English regions, where they fell by an average of 0.1 per cent, but only managed to stay completely flat between August and September.

Even with prices steady, the capital’s housing market declined in other ways: the number of sales agreed slipped four per cent, the number of new buyers registered slipped 3.9 per cent, and sellers listed 1.4 per cent fewer properties.

London still beat every other region except the South East in terms of asking prices achieved – 94 per cent compared to a countrywide average of 93 per cent.

The capital’s houses also took just 5.8 weeks on average to sell after they were put on the market, well below any other region and the national average of 9.9 weeks.

“House prices fell for the third month in a row on the back of weakening demand, a fall in sales agreed, and a re-pricing of unsold stock,” said Richard Donnell at Hometrack.

“While the government’s Funding for Lending scheme is likely to support a modest increase in mortgage lending,” Donnell predicted. “The uncertain economic outlook... will continue to act as a drag on housing market activity.”