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Property prices in London continue to fall as the latest report from Nationwide declares prices in the capital declining by -0.8% during 2018, further reduction from previous annual percentage change of -0.7% last quarter. The average price of the property in London currently stands at £466,988. However, looking at price levels relative to 2007 peaks, in London prices are still more than 50% higher now than they used to be at the peak over 10 years ago.
At the moment transaction levels in the capital are down 20%. Uncertainty over Brexit remains the key reason of inactivity on the market, with both sellers postponing to put their properties on the market and buyers waiting for the situation to stabilise and anticipating further decline in prices. The apprehension is concentrated in the capital where the results of the Brexit are likely to be felt most vividly.
A warning by Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, that no-deal Brexit could cut 35% off house prices contributed to the anxiety on the market, and expert predict situation on the market will be volatile during 2019 as both sides of the market remain careful. Most surveyed real estate agents predict no change or very little change in property prices for 2019, however the conditions surrounding Brexit will continue to be main influencing factor in how the capital’s prices are amended in the future. Uncertainty over Brexit also continues to cut into demand from EU buyers, although a weakening currency can make properties in UK more attractive to international buyers.
While number of properties coming to the market has fallen as well as number of new inquiries from potential buyers, it did not prevent the market from being shifted in favour of buyers. The three D’s – Death, Divorce and Debt continue to move market from both buyer’s and seller’s sides, forcing people to make a decision now rather than in the more stable future, and in the environment of slow sales and persistent market anxiety some good bargains are to be found.
A leading Central London real estate agency reports some buyers to be gaining significant price discounts, with one remarkably agreeing the sale price of the flat in Battersea to be slightly over £600,000 for the property with the original asking price of £950,000. The human factor and personal circumstances of sellers and buyers stand out especially prominent in overall slow and uncertain market, and while the overall recommendation seems to be wait and see, some brave buyers just might use the current market to their advantage if they play their cards right.
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