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London property market suffers worst rate of decline in a decade

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Photo: Reuters

London property prices suffered the worst rate of decline in a decade, according to data from Nationwide Building Society.

It revealed that in the first quarter of this year, London house prices were 3.8% lower than the same period last year. Nationwide highlighted how this was “the fastest pace of decline since 2009 and the seventh consecutive quarter in which prices have declined in the capital.”

Chart: Nationwide

“This trend is not entirely unexpected, however, as it follows several years of sustained outperformance it has left affordability more stretched,” said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide.

“Policy changes that have impacted the buy-to-let market in recent years are also likely to have exerted more of a drag in London, given that the private rental sector accounts for a larger proportion of the housing stock in the capital than elsewhere in the country.”

However, prices in London are still extraordinarily high compared with the UK average. Looking at first quarter figures, the average cost for a property in London is £455,594 ($593,375) while the average price for a UK home stands at £212,694.

Table: Nationwide

Meanwhile, UK property prices picked up a little speed in March, rising 0.4% month-on-month and 0.7% year-on-year. When comparing this rate of growth at the time of the Brexit referendum in 2016, this is pretty meagre — property prices were rising by about 5% a year.