Housing recovery slowest in London

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The Independent Online
HOUSE PRICES in and around London are taking longer to recover from the slump than prices elsewhere in the country even though the capital led the housing market into recession.

This is evident from statistics released by the Nationwide Building Society yesterday. However, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reported that agents in London were among those who reported good levels of activity in September.

Nationwide's survey, which looked at trends in the third quarter of this year and compared them with last year, shows that prices in Greater London fell 5.6 per cent - the highest annual fall in any region. Prices also fell over the year in south-east England (outside London) and East Anglia, although each of these areas recorded increases over the third quarter of this year. There was a quarterly drop in Greater London of 0.5 per cent.

David Parry, head of planning at Nationwide, said that in London many first-time buyers were now able to move straight into houses, rather than flats.

Nationwide said prices in Northern Ireland increased by an average of 8.1 per cent over the year, though they fell by 2.4 per cent between the second and third quarter this year. Prices also fell during the quarter in the Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside and Scotland.

Nationally, prices rose 0.7 per cent over the quarter but fell 1.7 per cent over the year.

The NAEA said 51 per cent of agents reported that the levels of new instructions to sell were poor during September. In London and East Anglia, however, 40 per cent of agents reported increased business.