House selling in London slumps by more than a third, says Your Move

According to the latest monthly index from estate agents Your Move homes changing hands in London slumped by almost a third year on year in the spring, as changes to stamp duty rates, high prices and Brexit uncertainty slowed the market.

The survey found that in the three months to the end of April, sales in Greater London were down 29% on the same period in 2016.

Much of the decline follows a government overhaul of property taxes that spurred landlords and other second-home buyers to rush through deals in March.

But while a sharp fall from that peak may have been expected, transactions in the capital were down markedly when compared with 2015’s figures, Your Move said, showing a drop of 19%.

The Your Move index showed a sharp decrease in sales in London, the south-east and east of England, but increases in other, less expensive areas when compared with 2015. In Wales, sales were down by 7% year on year but 13% higher over two years, while in north-east England they had fallen 4% on 2016 but were up 10% on the previous year.

Your Move’s report showed that England and Wales saw a 0.3% increase in the average cost for buyers. It said average house prices had risen to a new peak of £303,200, a year-on-year increase of 4.8%.

Acadata said there was little sign that the General Election had dampened the market in May, but there had been a long-term shift in activity. It said: “Many households are deterred from moving not just because there is a shortage of suitable options to buy, but also because of the costs of moving and not least the rate of stamp duty now being levied on higher value homes.”

Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move, said: “The market remains resilient and there’s encouraging activity in the north, but we need to urgently address the serious blockages in housebuilding holding back labour mobility and economic competitiveness in too many areas of the country.”