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London house prices may be starting to drop


Prices in the capital were 3.3 per cent lower in September (Source: Getty)

London house prices could already be falling, according to figures rel­eased yesterday by estate agents Haart.

Prices in the capital were 3.3 per cent lower in September than in August. However, growth since September 2013 remains high at 19.8 per cent.

A similar, but less extreme, trend is seen for prices for the whole UK. The data confirm house prices under­went a boom over the year to August but have been cooling since.

The boom was officially confirmed by figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Monday. More up-to-date house price surveys from Nationwide and Halifax mortgage lenders suggest a cooling since then.

On Tuesday, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors told City A.M. that buyer enquiries had collapsed and that London prices could fall in 2015. Feeding the decline was unaffordability and new mortgage rules.

Affordability does seem to have been stretched over the last year. In west London, prices grew 36.9 per cent annually in September, say Haart. They rose 34.5 per cent in north London.

On the downside, there were near stagnant prices in E and SW postcodes.

The total number of transactions across London fell by 20 per cent.

Over the last month, north west London was the only area of the capital to see prices not fall or stagnate.

It comes as leading premium property developer Nick Candy warned that prices at the top end were unsustainable. Speaking at property trade show MIPIM UK yesterday, he said: “There is an imbalance and prices can’t continue to rise by 10 or 20 per cent – it’s not sustainable. There are going to be lots of flats that may not be sold.”

He also admitted that selling the 85 flats at his One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge, the world’s most expensive apartment scheme, had been a “struggle” following its launch in 2011.

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