Increase in London house prices

Amanda Jarvis

February 17, 2006

The latest data from haart estate agents shows that the average London house price has increased by 2 % as confidence returns to the London housing market. The average price of property in London is now £238,305 up from £233,317 in December.

High salary levels, a shortage of good quality stock, record Christmas city bonuses and renewed confidence, particularly with first time buyers, have all contributed to boosting house prices.

The London housing market has had a very strong start to the year. At the end of last year sale transactions increased by 100% over a 12 month period and the level of activity has carried over to the New Year with a 10% swell in applicants. As a result the average time to sell a property has dropped by 5 days to 20 days as more buyers return to the market.

Along with increased activity in the housing market there are strong signs that first time buyers are coming back with a vengeance with a further 1% increase in first time buyer levels raising it to 24% in January, the highest levels since the index began.

Paul Smith, chief executive of Spicerhaart commented: “The rise in activity levels, and more pertinently first time buyer levels, reflects a marked increase in confidence. Potential buyers that have been waiting for the market to turn have finally accepted that it is not going to crash. As a result of the improved confidence and market activity we are seeing properties, at the right price, being snapped up in days, even hours.”

“With the high activity levels from the end of 2005 carrying into January house prices are set to continue to rise into certainly the first half of this year when a months worth of pent up activity is released. We expect prices to rise by at least 5% in the first half of the year.”

Regional variations

East and South East London saw the greatest price increases in January with average property prices increasing by 6% in each region. Properties in the city and surrounding areas have been boosted by record end of year bonus levels. The East and South East of London have also benefited from an increase in applicant levels particularly first time buyers .

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