Yeah, we know it’s probably a pipe dream, but some of us still haven’t given up on the idea of maybe one day having a little shoebox in London to call our own. Renting is a drag and, well, a little optimism is good for our mental health.
What’s more, there are signs that owning a home in the capital could become more achievable in the coming years. While it may still take you decades to save for a deposit (especially if you’re flying solo), house prices are now rising at their slowest rate for nearly five years, according to new figures from the Land Registry.
The average price of a London home increased by just 3.7% in the year to February and now stands at £474,704. This figure has even dropped since January 2017. What’s more, London house prices are now rising more slowly than the rest of England, which saw prices rise by an average of 6.3%.
House prices are now falling year-on-year in four London boroughs. They fell the most in Tower Hamlets (by 2.9%), followed by Brent (2.3%), Islington (1.9%), and Hammersmith and Fulham (0.2%). The only boroughs now seeing price growth in the double digits are Havering and Kensington and Chelsea.
The property market in London’s most expensive central areas began to noticeably slow down earlier this year, which was attributed to increases in stamp duty and “economy uncertainty”, and the latest data suggests the trend is spreading outwards across the capital.
However, according to Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of online agents eMoov.co.uk, the slowdown hints at “a more natural adjustment… currently happening to the market".
“Prices across the board have generally continued an upward trend despite a slower start to the year than usual, but it is no coincidence that both London and the South East have seen some of the only falls in monthly property price growth,” Quirk told the Evening Standard.
London and the South East still have far higher average house prices than the rest of the UK, and the property market in these areas is “realigning itself with the rest of the country, having seen an abnormal level of inflation over the last year,” he added.
The number of house sales completed in London remain low, with sales in the last year lower than in recent times, however. This figure fell by nearly a third (31.3%) to 6,665, down from 9,700 in December 2015.
While we don’t want to get our hopes up too much, we’re not going to stop browsing through London property porn or delete interior inspiration Pinterest boards just yet.