London house prices suffer their biggest drop in 10 years as Brexit fears bite


House prices in London are falling at the fastest rate in a decade.

According to the Nationwide House Price index, prices over the first three months of 2019 in London dropped 3.8 percent in value, compared to the same period in 2018. The biggest drop since 2009.

The average house price in London during the first quarter of 2019 was £455,594 ($593,500), according to one of Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders.

The capital’s decline is the seventh consecutive quarter in which prices have fallen and Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner, blamed high prices and changes to buy-to-let rules.

Gardner said in a statement Friday that housing market activity across the United Kingdom was broadly stable but new buyer enquiries were continuing to fall, hitting “their lowest level since 2008.”

England recorded its first annual price fall since 2012, with prices down 0.7 percent when compared to the first quarter of last year. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all enjoyed price gains.

A recent survey of U.K. residential property from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) concluded that Brexit is currently the main obstacle for market activity.

More than the three quarters of estate agents that were asked, said uncertainty over how the U.K. leaves the European Union was holding back both buyers and sellers of property.

Speaking to CNBC last week, RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn said that there was evidence that if Brexit could be resolved then the market would be reasonably well set.

“That doesn’t mean that prices will spike up, but it is visible in the responses that the degree of pessimism is measured,” said Rubinsohn.


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