UK buyers defy Brexit with buoyant prices while London market drops



London house prices continue to fall while values in the North and the Midlands are rising, significantly outperforming the South. 

The most buoyant market was Wales, where asking prices grew 4 per cent, followed by 3 per cent in the West Midlands, 2.6 per cent in the North East and 2.1 per cent in the North West, according to the latest Rightmove asking price index.

Rightmove analyst Miles Shipside said the majority of the UK had “defied Brexit” as buyers are more concerned with their own housing needs than with the country’s political chaos. 

“Activity breeds activity and a greater choice of fresh properties in the likes of Wales helps to spur buyers into action, especially if they have a property to sell.”

“This in turn adds another new listing that might then tempt another buyer, in a virtuous circle. And in much of the rest of the country, despite the ongoing political uncertainty, agents are reporting that the lure of the right property at the right price still attracts good interest,” Shipside explained. 

Across the UK asking prices have nudged up 0.1 per cent over the last year to £308,290 with the negative London picture holding back overall growth.

House prices fall in London

The average asking price of a home in Greater London has been slashed by £16,157 (or 2.5 per cent) to £621,589 over the last 12 months to May. 

Asking prices also fell in the South East (by 1.1 per cent) and were sluggish in the East and South West with 0.9 per cent and 1 per cent growth respectively. 

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All but two London boroughs have new sellers asking less on average than a year ago. Only Barking & Dagenham and Bexley — the capital’s two cheapest boroughs — held their value year-on-year.

“Their housing stock gives some of the cheapest options for those with stretched affordability and on a tight budget but needing to be in London,” said Shipside. 

Jack Kypri of Harpers & Co said: “I wouldn’t jump the gun and say that Bexley is doing amazingly well, but we haven’t slid like other areas, either – we’re holding firm.”

“We have good quality stock and we’re like a mini, affordable Blackheath. We’ve got four grammar schools and great transport links into Charing Cross, but the place is pretty and full of nice wine bars and delis. It’s a pleasant place to live.”

“I think it’s because there is less talk about Brexit. Things have calmed down now; they all went away for Easter, the sun is shining, people are cutting the grass in their gardens, the country seems slightly less tense,” he added. 

Cheaper, outer London — where great stretches of regeneration are delivering new homes — has performed better than the central zones with annual growth rate of 0.9 per cent to £522,351.

Asking prices in inner London were 3.8 per cent cheaper than a year ago with the average price now £762,044.

Marc von Grundherr, of Benham & Reeves, said: “it’s three-speed market with outer, more affordable areas doing one thing, luxury another and the mainstream market doing something different again.

“That said, here at the coal-face, we are seeing increased activity from potential buyers with applicant registrations up quite significantly year on year. We are now seeing the bottom of the London market, whichever one you pick.”

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The time it takes to sell has dropped dramatically in the capital from 89 days in January on average to 74 in May.

“The time it takes to sell has sped up because asking prices have also fallen. Finally sellers’ expectations and prices are aligning,” said Becky Fatemi, founder of Rokstone Properties. “Now prices are more realistic the serious buyers are out looking.”



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