London’s top homes regain some value

Marion Dakers
THE TOP end of the London property market made a broadly strong start to 2011, with the most expensive 25 per cent of houses adding an average of 0.2 per cent in value in the last month, according to research seen by City A.M.

A tightening supply has helped push prices up, with 15 per cent fewer houses on the prime market since October, says research by property website Primelocation.

Prime prices in Camden, Merton and Hammersmith & Fulham have risen the most – by more than five per cent in some areas.

However, the recovery is uneven, with the most valuable 25 per cent of properties in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Islington losing value in January.

Prime houses in these three areas lost 1.3, 0.6 and 0.1 per cent of their value respectively during January.

The most expensive 10 per cent of properties in central London lost 1.4 per cent in January and now average £3.34m, which is still around 2.5 per cent higher than in January 2010.

However, the fall in values is less pronounced than during September, when top London properties suffered a 2.4 per cent drop in the space of a month.

The prime London market reflects a patchy recovery for high-end property values in the rest of the UK, which suffered a 0.2 per cent overall drop in January.

South-east England saw the most dramatic drop in values in the country, with the average prime house losing 0.9 per cent to average £556,000.

The average property in England and Wales has lost 2.2 per cent compared to a year earlier according to Hometrack data last week.

But the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors also found last week that the decline in house prices could be slowing down as the rate of properties coming on the market drops.

Andrew Smith, research director at Primelocation, said: “With the expectation of a healthy City bonus season as well, prices at the top of the market look set to continue their strong run while the mass market remains fragile.”