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London home owners stay put as Brexit damps appetite to sell

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 11:20

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London home owners are showing a "marked reluctance" to put their property up for sale, deterred by uncertainty caused by the looming Brexit process and an increase in tax, according to Rightmove.

[LONDON] London home owners are showing a "marked reluctance" to put their property up for sale, deterred by uncertainty caused by the looming Brexit process and an increase in tax, according to Rightmove.

While the average asking price of a property in the capital rose 1.4 per cent in January to £624,953 (S$1.09 million), fewer Londoners put their properties up sale. New listings slid 14 per cent from a year earlier, the property website operator said Monday.

"Last year saw a rush of owners trying to exit at what they perceived as the top of the market, though in truth those in inner London were already a year too late," said Rightmove director Miles Shipside. "Owners now seem well aware of the more challenging conditions, with the high stamp-duty costs and Brexit uncertainty perhaps making them hold back from trying to sell."

London's underperformance was a theme of 2016, with Britain's vote to leave the European Union as well tax changes in the early part of the year weighing on the market. Rightmove said last month that prices in prime London property could decline 5 per cent in 2017.

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Across the UK, asking prices increased 0.4 per cent in January from December, and climbed an annual 3.2 per cent to an average £300,245, according to Monday's report.

In a separate release, LSL and Acadata said annual UK house-price inflation slowed to 3.1 per cent last month. Transactions declined 3.9 per cent in 2016 from the previous year.

The report also reflected a slowing growth in London, as it trailed the other regions of England and Wales with home-price growth of 0.2 per cent last year due to a slump in prime property.

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