London house prices: number of homes sold continues to rise as asking prices stall

The number of sales agreed rose this month but prices continued to drop, suggesting that buyers and sellers may be meeting in the middle. 

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There were early signs that the expectations of buyers and sellers are becoming more closely aligned this month as the number of homes sold in London increased three per cent compared to May last year.

The pick-up in buyer activity suggests some sellers are setting more realistic asking prices in order to secure a quicker sale.

The figures from Rightmove also reveal the biggest year-on-year fall in asking prices at this time of year since 2010, yet even the monthly drop of more than £15,543 (2.4 per cent) leaves the London average above £634,000.

Prices for the most expensive homes in inner London – costing around £800,000 – continued to see the biggest falls of 4.2 per cent.

Stephanie McMahon, Head of Research at estate agent Strutt & Parker says: "It doesn’t come as a massive surprise to see the drop in Inner London figures over the past year as the markets have been adjusting to Stamp Duty changes alongside political volatility."

While prices in London have been stalling for several months, they have continued to rise across the UK, hitting £316,000. 

In contrast, there were price increases in all 12 of the capital’s cheapest boroughs, where average asking prices are below £500,000.

The cheapest borough in which to buy a home is still Barking and Dagenham in east London, where the average price is now £308,000, up 2.8 per cent in a year.

In the south-east London borough of Bexley, where riverside areas are being extensively developed for new housing, prices rose four per cent to £376,000.

Neighbouring Greenwich, where upmarket Blackheath sits alongside up-and-coming Charlton, saw asking prices hit £483,000, an increase of 8.1 per cent on the previous year.

All London’s cheapest boroughs are in the east or south of the city except for Enfield, where the Piccadilly line will take you north to Arnos Grove and Cockfosters. Prices in the borough hit £487,000, a three per cent increase on the previous year.

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