Capital's house price rise has come to a halt
Sun 27 Jul 2014
London house prices slowed almost to a half last month in the latest sign that the once red-hot market is rapidly cooling. The average price of a home in the capital went up just 0.1%, or 536, in June to 437,608 after surging 10 percent since the start of the year, according to official Land Registry data. Agents said a combination of tougher mortgage rules, fears of a looming interest rate hike and the strength of sterling have all combined to end Londons property "silly season" and half the once rampant sellers market in its tracks. Peter Rollings, chief executive of west and central London agency Marsh and Parsons, said: "After a frenetic start to the year, the pace of the house price growth has slowed this quarter as the market stabilises and returns to more normal trading conditions. "With more choice coming onto the market, sellers are able to find their next onward purchase and consider trading up. Calmer conditions in the market have meant buyers view purchasing London prime property as a less daunting process than has been the case previously". Annual property price inflation in some outer boroughs has slipped into single figures with just 8 percent recorded in Hounslow and 8.3 percent in Redbridge. The biggest rise was in Waltham Forest where prices have soared 28.1 percent in a year. It is the first time that the Land Registry figures- regarded as the "gold standard" for house price measurement- have shown signs that the market has reached a plateau. Its figures tend to lag several months behind anecdotal evidence in the market because they are based on completion prices lodged with the registry. Prices are still 16.4 percent higher than they were a year ago, but the annual rate of increase is starting to subside from the 20 percent levels seen only a few months ago. Alexander Gosling, managing director of online estate agents Housesimple.co.uk, said: "Monthly growth of 0.1 percent is not exactly a slump but the heat does appear to have gone out of the property market. "With lenders Mortgage Market Review, rate rises to come and wage growth still proving negligible there is every reason to expect more conservative growth in the months ahead. "I think London buyers in particular have reached a point where enough is enough. Silly season couldnt go on forever". Across London the number of properties sold for more than 1 million in April- the latest month for which figures are available- rose 35 percent to 516, including 171 above the proposed mansion tax threshold of 2million.