London property:house sales slump in capital’s ‘sick’ market
There were less sales in 28 of the capital’s 33 boroughs,
Activity levels among buyers and sellers has been consistently falling since the financial crash decade ago, yet is now hitting new lows.
Analysis of most recent Land Registry information shows that there were less deals in 28 out of the capital’s 33 local authority zones among January and August.
The biggest decreases in sales were recorded in Tower Hamlets, where they were down 22.5 percent, Croydon, which saw a 15.4 percent fall, and Westminster, which was 14.4 percent lower.
Only a handful of boroughs an expansion, driven by Hammersmith and Fulham, which was up 11.9 percent. The small City of London market recorded a 65.9 percent leap.
Property experts said record low interest rates and high levels of employment meant that few vendors were “distressed sellers” forced to slash prices to clinch a sale.
But at the same time nervous buyers concerned about the impact of a potential no-deal Brexit are refusing to pay what they regard as inflated asking prices.
The outcome has been a gap that has left a thousands of properties, especially in central London, holding tight the market for a many months or even years.
Naomi Heaton, chief executive of investors London Central Portfolio, said: “Most people in central London don’t need to sell, the cost of finance is so low. They are long-term holders and they have basically just shut up shop.”
LCP information suggests that transactions in prime central London have collapsed by the half from from 9,000 to around 3,700 since the frenzied peak of the market in 2007 on the eve of the credit crunch.
Crosswise over Greater London as a whole,sales volumes have scarcely recouped since the immediate aftermath of the financial crash and are 46 percent down on 2007, as per LCP.
Joseph Daniels, chief executive of sustainable developer Project Etopia, which analysed the Land Registry figures, said: “Falling transaction levels in a city like London, where affordability is a critical problem, is a sign of a sick housing market that refuses to adjust.
“The picture in the capital is worse than across the rest of the country and things will come to a head here sooner rather than later.
“Vendors need to moderate their expectations but more importantly, policymakers must start building a meaningful number of new homes so accumulation of wealth ceases to be the market’s main long-term driver.”