Whisper it quietly,
but London is on the mend

It’s taken some time but new data shows London’s housing market is improving, writes Graham Norwood.

Let’s start with independent property consultancy Hometrack. Its good news for the capital is that the slowdown has bottomed out with the annual house price growth rate rising to 2.8 percent in September. Hometrack says there have been consistent month-on-month price rises averaging 0.5 percent across London since March.
Next let’s go to JLL, one of the capital’s leading estate agencies and property consultants.
After a period of price falls, the sales market for homes priced under £2 million has seen prices rise 1.8 percent compared with early last autumn. Even adding in homes priced over £2 million – which have seen a drop in sales because of higher stamp duty – there has been a rise in prices over the past year, for the first time since late 2014.
“In spite of recent political turmoil and the uncertain direction of Brexit negotiations, it is heartening to see the uplift in transactions. The market is steadily rebalancing and should be on a firmer footing come the start of 2018,” says Richard Barber, JLL’s sales director.
There is also encouraging data from London Central Portfolio, an investment firm that specialises in central London property – both direct investment and through funds.
Analysis of Land Registry data by LCP shows that average prices in the wealthiest part of the capital hit £1.9 million in the first three months of this year – that’s the latest data available – which is up 4.6 percent on a quarterly basis.
Not to be outdone, estate agency Knight Frank also has ‘green shoots’ figures which suggest the capital’s market may at last be on the road to recovery.
Its new Prime Central London analysis shows the number of would-be buyers registering as 15 percent higher in the first five months of this year compared with 2016. The number of exchanges between January and May – again, the latest data available – is some 14.2 percent and 8.7 percent higher respectively than in the same period in 2016 and 2015.
To cap it all, viewing levels of homes on sale are up by around 20 percent compared with last year and the amount of stock under offer is up by 36 percent.
For the final figures, let’s see how estate agency branches are faring. Haus Properties – which closed a branch in 2016 – has opened a new Chelsea office this year; Hunters, too, has opened in Shoreditch; and Chestertons is marking its arrival in a West Putney office.
No one denies London remains a challenging market but this time it seems that autumn, rather than spring, is producing some green shoots for everyone interested in property.

“This time it seems that autumn, rather than spring, is producing some green shoots for everyone interested in property”