'Optimistic' outlook for London's property

19 January 2006
London's housing market activity in December saw a 100 per cent increase on the previous year's figures, according to new research.

Last month also saw a rise in the number of first-time buyers – up to 23 per cent from a calendar-year low of 18 per cent in April, research from Haart estate agents shows.

During the last quarter of 2005, house prices were up three per cent as salary levels increased along with housing market confidence.

West London property remains the most expensive, with an average asking price of £273,500, while the average price for a house in the south-east is £201,489.

The average price for property in the capital as a whole now stands at £233,317, representing a rise of one per cent and analysts have an optimistic outlook for the housing market in the first half of 2006.

"We expect this positive level of activity to carry over to the first half of the year and as 12 months' worth of pent up activity is released, we expect prices to rise by five per cent in the first half of the year," said Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart.

"However, we believe this level of activity will cool down towards the end of the year and the annual growth is set to be two or three per cent for 2006."

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