Housing market hits the brakes

This is in sharp contrast to the strong monthly rise of 2.7% recorded for October, and follows the exceptional 22.2% rise in prices over the last year.

The price fall is largely attributed to price falls in London, especially at the most expensive, £750,000-plus end. Large numbers of City job losses are beginning to take their toll, and the softening of the London market can be expected to continue over the next few months. The three months to November have seen asking prices decrease in around a third of London boroughs including Westminster (-11%), Camden (-7.6%), Tower Hamlets (-5.4%), and Kensington & Chelsea (-1.9%).

Elsewhere in the UK house prices are mostly holding up well, with large quarterly increases of 9% in the North, 6% in the North West, and 5.5% in Wales, contrasting with 2.5% in the South East (outside London), 0% in East Anglia, and a fall of 0.2% in London.

Independent housing market expert, John Wriglesworth, commented: “Houses and flats in central London which have seen the highest rises over the last few years are now seeing reductions reflecting a decline in demand, not least due to City job losses. While I expect these price reductions to cascade to outer boroughs, historically low mortgage interest rates are still helping to support house price rises elsewhere in the country where employment levels are still very high.”