Housing demand plummets

Demand for property in Westminster – where average homes cost £1.7m – has contracted by 42% since February, having declined consistently since June.

Other parts of London have struggled, notably areas which were redeveloped as part of the Olympic Legacy. Demand has fallen by 36% in Hackney, 35% in Tower Hamlets, 33% in Newham and 24% reduction in Waltham Forest.

eMoov expects the trend in areas like Westminster to continue, with the Autumn Statement’s Stamp Duty reforms only benefitting buyers paying more than £932,000, while the introduction of Labour’s Mansion Tax will add another barrier if it wins the general election.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the South East though, as the London Borough of Bexley currently leads the way as a property hotspot followed by Reading, Sutton, Watford and Guildford.

Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk, said: “People are starting to sacrifice the London lifestyle and opt for areas further out to commuter zones.

“But who can blame them with the advancements in transport making the commute to London easier; people can reach Central London quicker than they can watch an episode of Grand Designs.

“This is evident with the ripple effect that’s spreading across the surrounding areas and even to the North with a staggering number of Northern locations enjoying a rise in demand.”

eMoov attributes northern house price gains to the proposed Cross Rail developments, which will make the London commute easier.

In Scotland property demand has increased by 5% since February, with its capital city Edinburgh coming at 49th out of Britain’s hotspots.

Glasgow witnessed the most drastic gains for the whole of the UK, with demand increasing by 28% since February.

Following Glasgow was Sandwell (27%), Hull (26%), Doncaster (25) and Bradford (25%).

But not all northern areas fared well, as demand has dropped in Leeds (5%), Newcastle (8%) and Manchester (14%) since February.

Quirk added: “Although demand in December alone may have been lower in comparison to the South, overall the call for property in the North is increasing far greater than down South.

“Our prediction is the demand for property up North will continue to increase and London will continue to drop and possibly even stagnate.”