Can London buck the trend?

Whilst there has been a worrying fall in the number of homes selling outside the M25 London and central London in particular continues to buck the trend of falling prices and unsold stock. Nick Clegg’s Sheffield home took more than seven months to sell but he probably wouldn’t have had the same problems if it had been within the Division Bell.

Reports in the press of record prices being achieved for an apartment in Knightsbridge seems to sum up the optimism in SW3. Estate agents are busy little bees this Easter with a bubbling sales and lettings market.

On Monday the monthly snap shot of the supply side of the market was published by web site confirming that most agents were taking on more property at higher prices and that what they had wasn’t shifting. Once again, not so in London where according to rival web site the supply of new property for sale has remained remarkably steady over the past two years (see above). New stock hung back at the end of last year but we are once again back on course. Not everything of course is advertised on the internet but these numbers provide a useful, relative guide.

As expected, new supplies of properties to let is now on the up as landlords react to news that rents are rising and new landlords step into the Buy-to-Let sector sensing an opportunity to invest in a slice of London real estate.

It would be nice to think that London might provide a lead and drag the rest of the country out of it’s winter hibernation but prices in the north are still 11% below the peaks reached in 2007 which means that for first time buyers in this region, who would normally move on after five years, many could well now be in negative equity and thus be stuck, unable to move!

Like the early taste of summer we are currently experiencing with temperatures 10º above the seasonal norm it won’t last and I fancy we will see London loose some of it’s heat in the coming months. The Capital may seem an attractive place to someone in north Africa or the Middle East who is in fear of their life or their fortune but rental yields of 4% are not attractive to anyone else and with inflation over 5% even in London house prices are actually sliding in real terms anyway.