Whether you live in Land’s End or John o’ Groats, you can’t ignore London house prices. The city is the engine of Britain’s property market, and the fluctuations of its fortunes have become a spectator sport over the past 20 years, from lows after the global financial crash in 2009 to a peak in 2017.
According to research by the estate agency Savills, using Office for National Statistics data, property prices in the capital fell 21.5 per cent in 15 months during the credit crunch and rose by 95 per cent to new highs in 2017. In a smaller fluctuation they fell by 3.5 per cent in May last year with Brexit uncertainty, but following the decisive Conservative majority in December’s election, annual price growth returned to 2.3 per cent in February.
Then came Covid-19 and the shutdown of the property market for almost seven weeks from March 26 until May 13. Last week the property market opened with a flurry of activity, with the property portal Rightmove reporting that in the first five days 6,496 new properties were listed for rent in the capital (up 59 per cent on the previous week) and 1,165 new properties for sale (up 206 per cent on the previous week). The number of inquiries to estate agents about London addresses via the website rose by 32 per cent. Today the average asking price of all London properties on the market is £637,458, which is 2.5 per cent higher than the same time last year.