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Pick up in activity in central London's prime housing market, figures suggest

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Prime central London has become the latest part of the housing market to show signs that industry pains are easing, after a tumultuous period since the fallout from the 2022 mini-Budget.

According to estate agent Strutt & Parker its offices in prime central London, covering areas such as Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Kensington, saw a 16.4% rise in applicants looking to buy homes in November compared with a year earlier. That followed high levels also seen in October.

It also said the number of offers accepted last month were up 25% year on year, and the number of offers received jumped 44.2%.

Over the past year much of the housing industry has seen demand knocked with purchasers squeezed by rising interest rates and higher mortgage costs.

But Strutt & Parker pointed to buyer and seller confidence being boosted in part by a recent pause in interest rate hikes.

The outlook for mortgage rates has started to improve and November saw UK house prices have their third successive monthly increase, Nationwide showed recently.

Meanwhile lender Halifax this week said average house prices rose by 0.5% in November, following a rise of 1.2% in October.

Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax Mortgages said: "Recent figures for mortgage approvals suggest a slight uptick in activity levels, which is likely as a result of an improving picture on affordability for homebuyers. With mortgage rates starting to ease slightly, this may be leading to increased buyer confidence, seeing people more inclined to push ahead with their home purchases."

Kinnaird did point out that amid pressures, such as inflation and the broader cost of living, mean "we expect to see downward pressure on house prices into next year".

Looking at the luxury sector, James Gow, head of London sales at Strutt & Parker said: “Prices are still beneath their 2014 peak, and the most committed buyers recognise prime central London still offers comparatively good value.”

He added: “This market is fairly discretionary as it’s less reliant on borrowing and more dependent on sentiment and confidence.”