London house prices: surge in number of new property listings gives buyers more choice

The new year property market is giving the capital's home buyers the biggest choice of listings in over 12 months, but with the stamp duty increase looming, first-time buyers will be competing with investors in the rush to beat the April 1 deadline.

This year's housing market is already offering London buyers more properties to choose from, as a new report highlights a significant increase in the number of "fresh-to-the-market" homes being listed for sale across the city.

The research by Rightmove shows a 13 per cent increase in the number of newly marketed properties on offer in the capital, compared with this time last year.

According to Rightmove's director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside, this relative surge in available stock is already creating fiercer competition among sellers and could mean lower prices for buyers, particularly in the most affordable areas.

However, London estate agents are also reporting a huge spike in the number of buy-to-let valuations being carried out as investors rush to make a purchase before the three per cent stamp duty increase on second homes and buy-to-let properties, announced in November's Spending Review and Autumn Statement, takes effect on April 1.

Interactive map: the average cost of buying in every London borough
Source: Rightmove, January 2016

In recent years, a shortage of homes coming to the market, coupled with growing demand, has been a key contributing factor in driving up prices.

With average asking prices in London now reaching £490,649, it is no surprise that growth in the outer edges of the capital is now outstripping central London.

South-east London in particular continues to record high levels of demand thanks to improved transport links and comparatively affordable house prices.

“Buyers' search for affordability and value continues, and while not as convenient for many, the trade-off between commuting and price continues to exert upward price pressure further out," says Shipside. "The annual rate of increase in outer London is now 11.3 per cent, over twice that of inner London.” 

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