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House prices in London continue nosediving as Midlands and North rise



Latest Rightmove House Price Index reveals continued tumult in market as high house price frighten off buyers in London and South, but buyers bid higher elsewhere.

Nigel Lewis

House prices in the UK increased in nine of its 11 regions hitting a record national average price of £305,732, it has been revealed, after rising by 0.4%.

But the UK property market remains a reverse of its former self, the portal’s figures reveal.

House prices continue to drop in London and only increase feebly in the South East and South West while the East and West Midlands continue to see strong annual average house price rises so far this year, along with the North West.

In London all areas are experiencing price drops except those within the suburban and most affordable Zone 4 London Underground neighbourhoods.

But despite a lack of supply pushing up prices in some areas of the country, Rightmove says March’s 0.4% rise was the slowest for the month since 2008.

It blames this on the Beast from the East storm preventing viewings, unseasonable price hikes during February of 1.5%, an early Easter, and heavy snow falls making marketing properties difficult.

The increasing problem of too few homes on the market is helping buyers, who Rightmove says are currently achieving 96.7% of the final listed asking price.

“In the more popular locations and for the property with the right specifications, buyer demand is helping to push prices higher,” says the portal’s housing market analyst Miles Shipside (left).

“A lack of choice is nudging prices up to test the ceiling of what the market will pay. It’s not rampant price inflation, and buyers can easily spot a speculative price and ignore a property that is out of line with others nearby and is also likely to be out of kilter with their pocket.”

David Plumtree, Connells imageDavid Plumtree, Chief Executive of Connells Group Estate Agency (right), agrees that a lack of stock is driving these price rises, which he says remains a problem for his company’s branches.

“Following a brisk start to the year with applicant registrations in January exceeding those levels seen in January 2017, buyer sentiment weakened as the quarter progressed,” he says.

Danny Belton, Head of Lender Relationships, Legal & General Mortgage Club (left) says: “This might give the impression that house price rises are returning to higher levels, but it’s important to bear in mind that these figures reflect average asking prices rather than completed transactions.

“Actual house price inflation continues to rise at more sustainable levels that sit in line with wage inflation. That, and schemes such as shared ownership and Help to Buy are helping buyers looking to make their first step onto the ladder, so it’s no surprise that the number of first-time buyers reached a 10-year high earlier this year.

“There are still issues to address – supply remains an ongoing problem that needs careful attention from the Government – but it has undoubtedly been a strong start to the year for the mortgage market, and that can only be a good thing for prospective buyers."

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