Musings of a London Property Finder
Average house prices have fallen 10% over the year to the end of October 2008, according to The Land Registry, the government official House Price Index.
London and Brighton property have not fared as badly, down 8.6% and 7.2% respectively although the picture is very mixed for the South East region as a whole.
Waltham Forest was the worst hit London borough, registering an annual house price fall of 9.2%. Wandsworth and Lambeth have also been badly hit, with average price falls of -7.3% and -8.2% respectively.
Westminster and Harrow are the only boroughs to have held onto gains made since September last year, registering annual house price growth of 0.1% and 0.7% respectively. Southwark and Barking and Dagenham registered the lowest falls with reductions of 0.5% and 1.9% with Bexley, Brent, Enfield, Hackney and Hillingdon closely behind with marginal price falls of circa 2% on last year.
Kensington and Chelsea which has generally held up quite well this year dropped 1.7% in October and registered an annual overall price fall of 3.6%.
During the first quarter of this year it looked like prices were more likely to hold in London than in the South East. Todays data shows that many of the Home Counties have out-performed some London boroughs.
Windsor and Maidenhead where there are a plethora of very large executive homes and often little reason to sell in a downturn, has performed the best of the South East regions, registering price falls of 2.7% over the last year – nothing to write home about. Price falls of under 5% are reported in Buckinghamshire, Thurrock and Surrey and average house prices in Kent are 5% less on the nose.
All other areas in the South East are registering house price falls of above 5% with the most significant house price deflation in Northamptonshire where average house prices are worth 10% less than a year ago.
The number of property transactions has also continued to fall across the board apart from sales of less than £100,000 and yes, there are some in London – there were 58 property sales in August for under £100,000.
Clients who have chosen us as their Property Search Agents will be aware that negotiated final prices depend very much on the situation of the vendor and the realism of the initial asking price, but that price cuts of 20-30%+ and more have become more common. As professional Property Finders, we try to dissuade Clients from buying properties which we believe are over-valued but although these figures may sound alarming, they are only of concern to people at risk of going into negative equity. Most people who have bought wisely and had their homes for five years or more should not be affected.
Homeowners wanting to move who have a reasonable amount of equity in their homes should still be able to do so – the key to a successful purchase in this market is:
- Ensure that the discount negotiated off the current market valuation of a new home exceeds any negotiation on the home sold
- Research the new area thoroughly so that you have a good idea of whether it is going to fare well in years to come and take future price falls into consideration when you offer
- If you don’t feel confident about the above – speak to a London Property Finder who does – our number is 020 7923 7564
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