Post-Brexit, London housing market remains in funk

Home prices rose at slowest pace in five years: report

North Audley Street in Mayfair
North Audley Street in Mayfair

High prices and uncertainty over Brexit are taking a toll on London’s housing market, which is in the worst slump since the financial crisis eight years ago, according to a new report.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the price balance for the city fell to minus 49, the lowest since February 2009. The measure indicates that a greater percentage of agents reported price drops in March.’

“High end sale properties in central London remain under pressure, while the wider residential market continues to be underpinned by a lack of stock,” Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, told Bloomberg. “For the time being it is hard to see any major impetus for change in the market, something also being reflected in the flat trend in transaction levels.”

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While the London measure may reflect the prime market, and not the city as a whole, its consistent with reports that sellers in central London have been forced to lower prices.

The report also showed that London home prices rose at their slowest pace in nearly five years, increasing by just 3.7 percent over a 12-month period that ended in February.

In the U.K. as a whole, the RICS price index stayed at 22 in March, but prospects for next year are dim. Both inquiries from potential buyers and sales were stagnant, and high-end properties performed worst. [Bloomberg] — E.B. Solomont