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London leads fall in home sales as buyers hold breath for Brexit


ASKING prices for London homes fell this month as buyers hesitated on closing deals amid political turmoil over Brexit.

Average values declined in March, slumping 1.1 per cent from February to £607,557 (S$1.09 million), property-website Rightmove said in a report on Monday.

Asking prices in the capital dropped 3.8 per cent from a year earlier with the number of sales agreed by real estate agents 9.6 per cent below the same period in 2018.

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London's property market has borne the brunt of uncertainty over the UK's future relationship with Europe.

After years of outsized gains, values fell for the first time since the financial crisis in 2018, according to official data.

Gains on a national level were also subdued as sales figures indicated a slow start to the usually busier spring period.

Asking prices rose 0.4 per cent to £302,002 on the month, but posted an annual decline of 0.8 per cent.

"Buying activity remains cooler than usual, with hesitation as some buyers await a more settled political climate," said Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove.

"There's greater resilience the further away you get from the London market," he added.

A separate report by Acadata, which incorporates all housing transactions, showed UK home prices slid 0.5 per cent in the 12 months to February.

Excluding London and the south-east, values were unchanged from a year earlier. BLOOMBERG