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London house prices rise but ‘frightening level of inflation’ and cost of living crisis likely to dampen market

·2-min read
With growth of 4.8 per cent, London saw the slowest rise of any region in the country in the year to March  (Daniel Lynch)
With growth of 4.8 per cent, London saw the slowest rise of any region in the country in the year to March (Daniel Lynch)

London house prices rose 4.8 per cent an average of £523,666 in the year to March, the Land Registry said today.

The figures suggest the capital’s property market is continuing the pattern of steady single digit growth seen since early in the pandemic. London saw the slowest growth of any region in the country.

Across England as a whole house prices were up 9.9 per cent to an average of £297,524, though that represented a slowdown from 11 per cent in February.

Property experts said the heat was being steadily taken out of market by rising mortgage rates and a squeeze on incomes caused by the cost of living crisis. Inflation rose to a 40 year high of nine per cent in April.

Andrew Montlake, managing director mortgage broker, Coreco: “House prices cooled in March relative to February and we can expect more of this throughout the year given the frightening level of inflation.

The stamp duty holiday, record low interest rates and the race for space triggered an unprecedented surge in demand and activity during the pandemic, but those days are now over.

“Nine per cent inflation, rising interest rates and a potential recession ahead will impact demand while lenders are becoming ever more cautious, which will restrict what people can borrow. This will almost certainly see the rate of price growth slow during 2022 and into next year. Only the entrenched lack of supply can prevent prices from falling.”

In London the biggest rise was in Kensington & Chelsea where prices went up 20.3 per cent, according to the Land Registry, although that figure may have been distorted by a handful of very high value sales.

Other than that the biggest rises were in Richmond (13.6 per cent) Bexley (10.3 per cent) and Barking & Dagenham (9.8 per cent). The only borough to see a fall in value was Lewisham where they dipped 0.5 per cent.

Alex Lyle, director of Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, says: “The imbalance between supply and demand continues to fuel strong house price growth in Richmond. The £1.5 million-plus freehold house market has been well received this year, with any sensibly priced family home attracting interest from a number of buyers, resulting in multiple bids and an agreed sale in excess of guide price.”

Guy Gittins, chief executive of agents Chestertons, said: “Historically, Spring marks the beginning of increased market activity with a surge in properties coming to the market. Not even half way into March, we had also already witnessed a spike in buyer enquiries and sales compared to the same time period last year.”

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