North London property remains safe as UK house prices drop

FTSE 100 Property

FTSE 100 Property - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Stock market figures suggest London property remains one of the safest assets money can buy as UK house prices drop and global events encourage foreign investment

According to the FTSE 100 index, shares in estate-agents Foxtons are up by a huge 49 per cent, while those of property listings website Zoopla have risen by 31 per cent and rival Rightmove is up 47 per cent.

Homebuilders are also seeing a surge, with Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley rising 30 to 50 per cent.

This comes as house prices in London peak at their highest since records began, with boroughs like Camden, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea seeing reliable long term increases.

“Overall, the north London market is strong this year,” said Alex Heiskanen, director of north London for Foxtons.

“The demand in the area significantly outgrows the supply and right now in our north offices we are seeing 31 buyers registered for every available property.

“Now would be a good time to invest in properties in north London, especially areas like Camden. Having attracted consistent interest from investors over the last six to seven years due to its trendy appeal and great transport links, the area still offers good value to buyers with more affordable prices per sq ft than the nearby areas of Hampstead or St John’s Wood.”

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House prices in London are up 7.3 per cent compared to this time last year, according to figures released yesterday by Nationwide.

The figures also show that while UK house price growth has dropped to a two-year low on the back of declines in June, London still has the highest growth rate in the country.

“The slowdown in house price growth is not confined to, nor does it appear to be driven primarily by, developments in London,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

“In quarter on quarter terms, London has continued to see price growth at or above the rate in the UK overall over the past three quarters.”

Foreign investment driven by the security of the housing market in London also remains strong, and there has been a surge of investment from the debt-stricken Greece as people scramble to look for a safe haven.

Camilla Dell, managing partner at property agency Black Brick, explained that many middle-class Greeks are buying property in London to buoy against the effects of the potential return to their old currency, the drachma.

“They tend to be buying not terribly expensive properties and I wouldn’t say there wasn’t any one particular area they go for, just all around central London,” she said.

“In terms of north London Greeks really like St Johns Wood and all the mansion block buildings. It’s a good area as it’s close to the London Business School and the American school.”