London property asking prices in check

LONDON • London property sellers are reining in their expectations as demand for homes continues to ease and the slowdown across the market shows few signs of letting up.

Asking prices in the city rose 1.6% in August over the past year, Rightmove plc said yesterday. While that’s up from the July pace, it’s well below a 2014 peak above 20% and only the second time this year the annual rate of increase has topped 1%. On the month, prices fell 1.9% amid a traditional summer lull.

The UK property market has softened in the past year, with tax changes, Brexit, political uncertainty, slowing economic growth and a squeeze on consumers all cited as reasons. London has been worst affected, with figures from Acadata last week showing that sale prices in the capital fell for a third consecutive month in June.

The outlook for the rest of the year isn’t much better. Prices in greater London will stagnate in 2017, property services group Countrywide plc said yesterday. Although the market should pick up again from 2018, growth won’t return to 2016’s pace of 6.2%.

Nationally, the housing market has held up better, according to Rightmove. While asking prices were down 0.9% in August from July, the annual gain accele- rated slightly to 3.1%.

Within London, asking prices have been most resilient in the trendy eastern borough of Hackney, close to the financial district, Rightmove said. They rose 8.9% over the past year to an ave- rage of £686,663 (RM3.79 million). — Bloomberg