The UK and particularly London and the South East have experienced the slowest start to the year for seven years, says Rightmove, caused by ‘buyer hesitancy’.
Asking prices in London have dropped by 1.5% this month and all bar six of its 33 boroughs experienced reducing prices including Southwark where they plummeted by 5.2%.
Nationally house prices increased by just 0.4% during what is supposed to be the busiest month of the year, the portal says, as new sellers “realise they have less pricing power than usual given the current market backdrop, especially in the south”.
Rightmove says this is due in part to the uncertainty created by Brexit, and that the national average asking price now stands at £297,000.
Outside London the picture is more buoyant but patchy. In the South East prices increased by just 0.2% and in the South West by 0.6%. In the East of England asking prices increased by 0.8% while the North West saw the strongest uplift (2.6%) followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (1.3%).
Both Wales and the West Midlands experienced weaker demand and lower prices, including a drop of nearly 2% in Wales.
David Plumtree, Chief Executive of Connells, says: “2019 has started off in encouraging fashion in respect of market appraisals and instructions, both of which are ahead of the first two weeks of last year.
“As expected, we continue to see a shortage of buyers despite having more available stock, and this is more pronounced in London and the East.
“Brexit concerns are, of course, the cause for hesitancy amongst buyers and we don’t expect any change in this until we see some certainty.”