For London housing, it’s the ‘End of the Boom’

Font Size

LONDON — London’s property market has moved out of its boom phase and home sellers need to be more realistic about their price demands, according to Rightmove.

The February report from the home-listing Web site shows that asking prices were down 1% from a year earlier, a sixth consecutive fall. They rose 4.4% on the month, reflecting the usual jump at the start of the spring season.

While multiple reports point to a cooling in London housing, the damage is being limited by cautious sellers, who aren’t flooding the market in a panic to dump property. That means the long-running supply-demand imbalance in the city is providing some support to prices.

“End-of-the-boom prices normally readjust more quickly if there is an over supply,” Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said in the report. However, “some would-be sellers are holding back, preventing a glut of competition from forcing prices downward,” he said.

The capital’s housing market was the worst performing in the UK in 2017 and there’s little to suggest any upturn is in store. Brexit uncertainty has damped demand, while years of rampant inflation has pushed ownership out of reach for many. The mean asking price in London this month was almost £630,000 ($885,000), more than 20 times average UK earnings.

For those who need a fast sale, Shipside’s advice is to “sacrifice some of the substantial price gains of the last few years.” The average time to sell a property in London is now 83 days, up from 73 days a year ago.

Nationally, asking prices increased 0.8% in February from January, though that was below the 10-year average for the time of year. The average price of £300,000 is up 1.5% year on year. That compares with gains of about 6% seen less than two years ago. — Bloomberg