The average price of a London home fell 3.8 per cent to £455,594 in the three months to March compared with the same period in 2018, according to a survey from leading lender Nationwide.
That was the biggest drop since the depth of the property market rout that followed the financial crisis in 2009 and wiped £18,182 off the average value.
It was also the seventh consecutive quarter when prices have fallen since the last rise in the spring quarter of 2017. The latest lurch downwards comes amid the political chaos over Brexit that has put off many buyers from entering the market in turbulent conditions, although some agents have reported a pick up in interest in recent weeks. Guy Gittins, managing director at agents Chestertons said: ”It was almost inevitable that the uncertainty of Brexit would drag property prices down, especially as the date gets closer and many buyers take a ‘wait -and- see approach’.
“However, we have experienced an incredibly busy start to the year, with a sharp increase in buyer registrations, viewings and offers, which reflects pent-up demand and suggests that prices are now at a level that buyers are comfortable buying.
“I therefore see this drop as a temporary blip, and expect prices to recover once the market has more clarity on Brexit.” Jonathan Hopper, managing director of buying agents Garrington Property Finders, said: “On the front line we’re seeing increasingly aggressive offers from buyers, who feel emboldened by their strong position and are dictating the pace of the market.
“With what should have been Brexit Day reduced to the status of just another milestone in a Brexit process leading who knows where, and who knows when, this year’s spring bounce is nowhere to be seen.”
The Nationwide survey showed that prices in the “Outer Metropolitan” commuter belt are also dropping with a two per cent fall to £355,978 while across the broader south east they were down 1.1 per cent at £274,122.