London still lagging behind for property prices
London property prices grew more slowly than those of any other English region in 2017, Land Registry figures have confirmed.
Data from the body for the whole year confirms a frequently observed trend of the heat going out of the London market, with the average property price increasing by only 2.5 per cent over the 12-month period.
By contrast, the neighbouring south-east saw an increase of 4.2 per cent and the East of England was up 5.2 per cent. The latter figure matched the overall average for England.
The strongest increase of all in 2017 was in the south west at 7.5 per cent, while both the East and West Midlands recorded 6.3 per cent rises.
Northern areas had a mixed experience. The north west saw a 5.9 per cent rise, perhaps helped by investment in parts of the Northern Powerhouse, not least Manchester, which is seeing a residential construction boom in the city centre. However, the same could not be said of the Yorkshire and the Humber region, where the increase was the second weakest at 2.8 per cent.
The London trend may be attributed to factors such as the economic doubts over Brexit and reduced desire of some EU citizens to live in the UK. This is likely to disproportionately affect the capital due to its status as a major international financial centre and because of its proportionately larger overseas-born population in comparison to other regions.
Other possible reasons would include a correction in the market due to overpricing, bringing the cost of buying a property in the capital back closer to that of alternatives in neighbouring regions.
The latter would put price trends in line with rents; a recent poll by the National Landlords Association found that 16 per cent of landlords in outer London cut rents, as did 14 per cent in inner London. The only region with a higher number of landlords reducing rents was the north-east, at 18 per cent.