City bonuses will add to pressure on prime house prices

Houses prices in London rose by 0.7% over the month to March, double the rate of the next fastest growing region with the average house price now at £330,804. Over the year to date house prices in the capital have risen by 11.5% which equates to an increase of £34,223. 

In comparison, three of the nine English regions experienced falling house prices last month, along with Wales and Scotland; illustrating the divergence of house prices in the north and south of England. Prices in the North East and North West fell by 0.4% and 0.6% respectively whereas in contrast prices the South East and South West grew by 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

Of the four property types analysed, prices of flats rose by 0.6% the highest month-on-month increase; terraced property increased in price by 0.2%; whereas detached and semi-detached houses declined by -0.4% and -0.3% respectively.

Robert Bartlett, Chesterton Humberts’ CEO, comments:

“The March Poll of Polls continues to highlight how property prices in London are recovering more rapidly than any other region in the UK. To date this has been largely due to the depreciation of sterling which has caused an increase in foreign demand for property in the capital.

“However, the reappearance of City bonuses, a large percentage of which has traditionally been spent on property, along with continuing international demand, will increase pressure on house prices in London, adding to the divergence in property market recovery in the north and south of England.

“Following the Chancellor’s announcement of the stamp duty threshold increasing to £250,000 for first time buyers, we’re expecting to see an increase in demand for all types of property up to this level, particularly for flats.”

Douglas McWilliams, Chief Executive of CEBR, comments:

“The recent lull in the selling price of houses is not particularly surprising given the strong growth at the end of last year. Taking into account the bad weather at the start of 2010 and the end of the temporary stamp duty relief, it is perhaps surprising that house prices have not taken more of a turn for the worse in February and March.

The Chancellor’s decision to raise the stamp duty threshold to £250,000 from £125,000 for first time buyers will undoubtedly encourage more entrants over the coming months and should stimulate lending activity from its current low. With all of the forward looking house price indices currently showing positive month on month growth, we expect the Chesterton Humberts’ Poll of Polls to pick up again over the summer.”

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