Whether you're renting or looking to buy, affordable housing options in London are few and far between. Cheaper "micro-flats" in the city centre may soon be an option for some people, but many more are hoping the housing market will finally be brought properly under control – by someone, somehow. Buying a property in London – even the tiniest box flat – is simply out of reach for all but the wealthiest young people.
However, new data is providing a glimmer of hope for anyone hoping to (eventually) own a slice of the capital. Asking prices for London homes have dropped further this year than at any point this decade, the Guardian reported. According to property site Rightmove, the average drop across the capital was £18,000 in just a month.
There was huge variation between boroughs, however, with areas that were already the most expensive – Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, for instance – seeing the steepest decline in asking prices. In Kensington and Chelsea, the average asking price plunged by more than £300,000 between August and September – no doubt sending shivers down the spines of the borough's many tycoons, oligarchs and foreign royalty. The average asking price in the royal borough is now £1.8m, down from August's £2.1m.
Camden in north London also became more affordable (again, admittedly not for most Londoners), with asking prices dropping by nearly £75,000 over the same period. However, it's worth not getting too excited, as asking prices actually increased in some boroughs. In Southwark, the typical asking price rose by 9% (£58,000) between August and September.
Rightmove described the changes as a "readjustment" in the London property market, caused by uncertainty over Brexit and changes in the tax system, which have left wealthy investors less likely to buy up London property.
“Since the introduction of the 3% surcharge on stamp duty paid by investors, along with the uncertainty as to how Brexit will impact London’s property market, investors have been standing on the sidelines," Roger Collings, from central London estate agent RE/MAX, told the Guardian.
By contrast, in areas outside the capital, including the north-east England, Yorkshire and Humberside and the east Midlands, the average asking price has risen in recent months. Nevertheless, the huge fall in London led the average UK asking price to drop by 2.9% from August to September. We'll be paying close attention to what happens next.