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London house prices decline in contrast with rest of UK

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HOME PRICES in London are continuing to fall, prolonging a slump that’s seen the average property in the capital lose almost 2% its value over the past year, surveys Monday showed.

The UK market is “starkly divided,” according to Acadata, which said that values in London fell for a third month in February but are rising in other regions apart from the southeast. A similar picture emerged in figures from property-website operator Rightmove, with average prices climbing to a new record of £305,732 ($436,000) in April, despite a drop in London.

“Home buyers are seeing average asking prices at their highest ever level with upwards price pressure getting stronger the further away you move from London,” said Rightmove Director Miles Shipside. “However, higher prices stretch buyers’ willingness to pay or ability to afford them.”

Years of rampant home-price inflation and a shortage of properties for sale has pushed ownership out of reach for many, with Acadata saying that six regions set new price records recently. Transactions were 19% lower than usual for this time of year, which can be partly explained by changes in stamp duty.

House prices across the country rose just 0.4% in April from a month earlier, the lowest at this time of year since 2008, the Rightmove report showed. They fell 0.6% in London, where the average property is now over £10,000 lower than a year ago.

Uncertainty surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union has weighed especially on the London housing market. The declines are no longer concentrated in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Acadata report showed. — Bloomberg