By William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – House prices in central London fell at their sharpest pace since 2008 in August, intensifying the slowdown in the capital’s housing market, but prices went up in other regions of Britain, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said its monthly balance of overall British house prices picked up to +6 after dropping to a four-year low of +1 in July.
August’s reading was above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists. But RICS said the reading was consistent with only a marginal rise in national prices.
Britain’s housing market has slowed since the June 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union, when prices were rising by about 8 percent a year, compared with growth rates of about 5 percent now, according to official data.
Other measures from mortgage lenders have put the increase in house prices at about 2-3 percent a year.
London’s prime central districts have borne much of the brunt of the slowdown, in part reflecting concerns about the impact of Brexit on the capital’s financial services industry and other related sectors.
Also, prices in London have quadrupled over in the past 20 years, making homes unaffordable for many of its residents.
RICS said surveyors rated housing in London and southeast England, where prices also fell, as the most over-valued in Britain.
Fifty-six percent more surveyors in central London reported seeing a fall in prices than reported a rise, and it was the only region in Britain where prices were expected to fall over the next 12 months.
By contrast, RICS reported solid price growth in Northern Ireland, the north west and south west of England and Scotland.
However, the number of sales of properties across Britain continued to show no growth, a picture which began in November.