Skip to content
Average house prices in the northwest borough of Barnet increased by £247,000 in the past five years, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: ‘Barnet has a very good education record, which is a bit of a magnet for families. What that tends to mean is that it attracts young professionals but because it is a little bit better value for money than inner London areas and is greener, it also attracts older people who want to be near their grandchildren. Many of these people are asset rich but may not have big incomes and are often trading down from larger properties.’
Halifax also reported that property prices strengthened in March to post their biggest monthly gain since August. Jeremy Leaf told The Guardian: ‘The increase in property prices is more to do with a shortage of stock, low mortgage approvals, and subdued activity rather than any great change in the market. What the results do show is that those who are actually looking to buy at this time of year are obliged to pay higher prices for properties in the areas they want to live in order to get what they want, which is what we are also finding on the ground.’
Meanwhile, Rightmove reported that average UK asking prices had hit a new high. Commenting in The Daily Express, Jeremy Leaf said: ‘What we are seeing is a two-tier market developing – the opposite of what we previously regarded as the north-south divide. This time the North seems to be powering ahead faster than the South, rather than the other way round. London property prices in particular are suffering and it is a very different picture from the heady days of a few years ago, as affordability and common sense now prevail.’
The average sold property price in Kensington & Chelsea went up 30.7 per cent in a year from £1.97 million in February 2017 to £2.57m in the same month this year, an increase of more than £600,000. However, the bigger picture in London remains uninspiring. Jeremy Leaf told The Times: ‘The old north-south divide is turning on its head, with northern areas steaming ahead much faster than the rather sluggish south.’
Continuing the good news, UK Finance reported that mortgage lending to homebuyers reached its highest level in February in over a decade. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘These numbers are encouraging because they underline the fact that you write off this market at your peril.’ He explained further in The Mirror: ‘Buyers and sellers are showing, once again, that those prepared to negotiate hard are still getting on with their lives, albeit at slightly softer price levels.’
Finally, the Office for National Statistics and the Land Registry reported that UK house prices rose by 4.4 per cent in the year to February, but London recorded its first annual fall since 2009. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ‘Looking at the last few housing market surveys, a clear pattern is beginning to emerge.’ He added in CityAM: ‘We are seeing a two-tier market developing, with higher national property prices masking stagnating, or even falling prices, in London.’