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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Greater London house prices top £600,000

House prices in Greater London have topped £600,000 for the first time ever, new figures show.

Prices increased by 14.9% over the last year, including a "staggering" 7.9% over the first three months of 2016.

Growth in prime central London was slower with annual growth of 4.7% and 2% over the quarter, taking the average price to £1,673,906.

London Central Portfolio, which has analysed Land Registry data for the first quarter of 2016, said the figures contradict "general downbeat reports" about the London property market.

Chief executive Naomi Heaton said prime central London saw a 33% rise in transactions during the first quarter.

“Buyers rushed in to beat the 3% stamp duty deadline, which created an uncharacteristic surge.

“This one-off anomaly is likely to be steeply eroded next quarter, magnifying the contraction in sales already anticipated across the rest of the year.”

Heaton said prices are now likely to soften following the Q1 stampede and tax changes at the upper end of the market.

“This is being compounded by pre-referendum jitters and global economic uncertainty, as international investors face struggling stock markets, falls in oil prices and an unsettled Chinese economy.”

Sky-high demand across Greater London has been driven by record lows in mortgage rates and beneficial falls in basic rate stamp duty, she said.

The rest of England and Wales is showing no sign of recovery, with prices down 0.87% over the quarter and sales volumes falling 4.5%.

Heaton added: “This must give cause for concern, given recent Government stimuli initiatives.”

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