House prices show rise in February – but only just

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The Independent Online

The cost of homes in the UK barely rose in February, hurt by falls in property in London and the South East, with little prospect of a seasonal recovery over the coming months.

The cost of homes in the UK barely rose in February, hurt by falls in property in London and the South East, with little prospect of a seasonal recovery over the coming months.

House prices rose just 0.1 per cent in February, the same rise as the previous two months, according to the latest figures from Hometrack, which collates prices from estate agents. Property in central London and the City fell by 0.2 per cent and the north London area registered a 0.1 per cent drop, while 11 other areas, including most of the rest of London as well as the West Midlands and Northumberland, reported no change.

Elsewhere, however, prices are still mostly on the up. The highest price rises were in East Sussex, Cumbria and South Yorkshire which registered rises of 0.9 per cent, 0.6 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively. The average house price for the country as a whole edged up slightly to £135,800.

"House prices actually achieved as a percentage of asking price have been steadily falling, and viewings per property and average time to sell are increasing. All these point to little or no recovery in house prices over the coming months," said John Wriglesworth, Hometrack's housing economist. "Seasonal increases in the demand for properties have been swamped by supply."

Thirteen London boroughs reported price rises of 0.1 per cent in February with only two boroughs, Croydon and Bexley, achieving rises above 0.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively. Hometrack reckons a seasonal recovery in London is unlikely. It says it is currently taking an average of 4.9 weeks to sell a property, with an average of 15.6 viewings per property sold compared with 4.6 weeks and 11.5 viewings in the UK as a whole.

Hometrack said it still expected national house price rises of 4 per cent this year.

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