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New Year, New Market

The stagnant property market in London amid Brexit uncertainty continued to frustrate buyers and sellers in the month of December, as asking prices in the capital fell £11,275 to an average of £602,996.

Yet while the 1.8 per cent seasonal slip actually marks the smallest November to December decline for five years, it’s not a sign of an improving outlook but rather a dramatic reduction of properties available to buy.

The new figures from Rightmove show the number of homes being listed for sale has plummeted 19 per cent compared to the same time last year, which has helped to fuel the comparatively low five-year drop in asking prices.

Wannabe buyers and property investors are therefore left with slim pickings to choose from and vendors are holding back as their homes appear to get cheaper.

Scarcity of property coming to market helps to underpin new seller asking prices,says Rightmove analyst Miles Shipside. Postponement of sales is likely to be due to political uncertainty,” he adds, referring to the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Housing market

Asking prices have fallen in seven out of 12 months over the course of last year when comparing each to the corresponding month in 2017.  The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has predicted that the uncertainty around Brexit is likely to continue to impact the housing market, with fewer people looking to move and sell.

“Against a backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, both buyers and sellers are cautious, which has led to a consistently sluggish market. It is clear that Brexit uncertainty is weighing on both buyers’ and sellers’ minds,” says Gary Barker, boss of Reapit – a software provider for estate agents.  He insists there is a supply crisis coming to central London. Concerned about the market, there have been fewer developers than usual buying up old buildings to convert them into luxury apartments.

Tech shares

Shares in some of the world’s largest technology stocks plunged on November 19th, dragging the Nasdaq down by 3% to drive a wider market sell-off.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported that lower demand for Apple’s new iPhones had impacted on the firms that make the handsets and components after the US company reduced its production orders.

Facebook, which is grappling with continued controversy over its handling of user data and the crisis over Russian election interference, saw its shares fall 5.7%. Apple shares are now down about 20% from their peak in October, while Facebook shares are hovering at their lowest levels in more than 18 months.


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