UK Property Market Still Lopsided and Uneven

The UK property market remains one of the most lopsided and dilapidated safe-havens in the world. That is, London is a safe-haven and it sits atop the high side of the lopsided market...

The UK property market remains one of the most lopsided and dilapidated safe-havens in the world. That is, London is a safe-haven and it sits atop the high side of the lopsided market, while the rest of the country stagnates on the low side of life.

Sure, there have been some balancing moments; times when the London market took a knock and other places performed better. However the latest data shows that the gap is not closing.

According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics showed house prices in London rose 6.5% in the year ending June. While this big growth was enough to bring the UK as a whole into positive growth territory with +2.3% on the year, but that is only masking the real misery, like the fact that prices in Scotland fell 1% during the same period, and prices in Northern Ireland fell a shocking 11.9%.

So skewed is the market that the average price of a property in London at £392,000 is not only £100,000 higher than the rest of the south-east, but three times the average price in Northern Ireland.

According to Zoopla buyers and sellers pricing expectations are still way out of alignment outside the capital, perhaps because the national indices are showing such positive growth. According to the portal, which is now the second biggest property website in Britain, 37% of homes listed have had their asking price reduced at least once since coming onto the market and by an average of 19,000 per price-cut.

Newcastle Upon Tyne is price-cut central, with sellers there having knocked an average of 9.6% (£18,888) off their original asking price, although Liverpool is not far behind at 9.1% (£13,463). Meanwhile Wakefield has the most price-cut properties on the market, with 51% of properties for sale in the city, followed by Rotherham (45.6%) and Barnsley (44.7%).

Nigel Lewis of Zoopla said activity had been knocked by the weather and the extended jubilee bank holiday. "Once the distractions of summer holidays and the Olympics are gone, buyers will once again be able to focus attention on their property search and this should bolster confidence among sellers," he said. More like he hopes some would say.

- Friday 17 August 2012

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