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UK housing woes deepen as asking prices fall

London

PROPERTY asking prices in the UK fell from a year earlier for the first time since 2011, led by declines in London and among the most expensive properties.

Asking prices slipped 0.2 per cent to £302,023 (S$532,000), according to Rightmove. Prices were 1.7 per cent lower compared with October, the biggest drop for the month since 2012, the property website said on Monday.

The property market in Britain is weakening after a three-decade boom in which price growth vastly outstripped wage gains.

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The uncertainty around the outlook for the UK's divorce from the European Union is also making buyers more cautious and prompting sellers to be less ambitious with asking prices.

"New sellers and their agents are reacting to market forces and lowering their pricing aspirations by more and sooner than usual," said Miles Shipside, a director and housing market analyst at Rightmove.

"Stretched buyer affordability and the cooling markets in the south and in upper price brackets have combined with the ongoing political uncertainty to change pricing optimism into pricing realism."

In Greater London, asking prices fell 2.4 per cent annually to £614,271. Homes located within London's Zone 1, the centre of the city, fell the most with a 6.9 per cent retreat on the year to an average of £1.3 million.

The declines are not as dramatic further from the centre, where average prices are lower. Values in the outer-most Zone 6 actually rose 3.1 per cent from a year ago. BLOOMBERG