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House prices tumble, London sees 4.4% drop

Patrick Christys
Jul 17, 2019


House prices are falling faster than Gemma Collins on Dancing On Ice - great news for buyers, not so much for existing owners.

London has taken the worst hit to property prices since 2009, with the average cost of a home in the capital dipping by 4.4% in the last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It's not good for people looking to sell, but, to be fair, house prices in London have been absolutely extortionate for such a long time - they're about as obtainable as a dodo riding a unicorn for many buyers.

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The ONS said it was the biggest drop in London prices since the 7.0% annual fall recorded in August 2009 – a period that included the near-meltdown of the global banking system in the autumn of 2008.

Across the country as a whole, house price inflation dipped from 1.5% in April to 1.2% in May, with the highest regional growth recorded in the north-west (3.4%) and the West Midlands (2.7%).

The ONS said the latest easing of property inflation was only the latest stage of a three-year downward trend from the most recent peak of 8% in 2016. Prices had surged in the run-up to the 2015 election following initiatives from the Treasury and the Bank of England to boost activity.

The average cost of a house in the UK was £229,000 in May – up £2,000 on the previous year. Data from the Land Registry, however, revealed big regional differences, from £457,000 in London to £135,000 in Northern Ireland.

According to the ONS, house price inflation is running below the official overall measure of the cost of living, which remained at the government’s target of 2% in May.

Mike Hardie, the head of inflation at the ONS, said: “The overall rate of inflation remains steady, with no change in pace this month. Petrol and diesel prices fell this year but rose a year ago, while clothes prices dropped by less than this time last year.”

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