London set to defy UK house slump

Julian Harris
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LONDON’S housing market is set to buck the national trend with the number of new sellers up by more than a fifth, the Rightmove house price index reveals today.

Across the UK, annualised new seller numbers have remained “practically unchanged” so that sluggish transaction levels are “set to be the norm,” the survey said.

“But home-owners in the capital are on the move,” commented Rightmove director Miles Shipside.

“The more elite markets in the UK have some immunity to the effects of stunted equity growth and the problem of accessing mortgage finance, and Londoners seem both ready and able to move up the housing ladder,” Shipside said.

Demand for housing in the capital has been strong enough to drive up asking prices by 4.2 per cent this month, Rightmove said.

Compared to the same time last year, asking prices in London are up one per cent, while nationwide the annual rise has been just 0.3 per cent.

The average asking price in London is now £430,680, compared to £223,121 across the whole of the UK, its survey found.

Risk averse lenders are looking toward low loan-to-value deals, more often available in affluent areas.

Yet nationally “Mr Average” is still being squeezed out of the mortgage market, Rightmove said. Lower deposit mortgages for middle tier earners will remain at a premium with the market remaining subdued, it forecast.

While more than half a million (530,000) mortgages were taken out in 2010, Rightmove recorded around 1.3m properties coming to market.