London homeowners shy away from selling amid challenging conditions

London home owners are showing a “marked reluctance” to put their property up for sale, deterred by uncertainty caused by the looming Brexit process and an increase in tax, according to Rightmove.

While the average asking price of a property in the capital rose 1.4 percent in January to 624,953 pounds ($759,000), fewer Londoners put their properties up sale. New listings slid 14 percent from a year earlier, the property website operator said Monday.

“Last year saw a rush of owners trying to exit at what they perceived as the top of the market, though in truth those in inner London were already a year too late,” said Rightmove Director Miles Shipside. “Owners now seem well aware of the more challenging conditions, with the high stamp-duty costs and Brexit uncertainty perhaps making them hold back from trying to sell.”

London’s underperformance was a theme of 2016, with Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as well tax changes in the early part of the year weighing on the market. Rightmove said last month that prices in prime London property could decline 5 percent in 2017.

Across the U.K., asking prices increased 0.4 percent in January from December, and climbed an annual 3.2 percent to an average 300,245 pounds, according to Monday’s report.

In a separate release, LSL and Acadata said annual U.K. house-price inflation slowed to 3.1 percent last month. Transactions declined 3.9 percent in 2016 from the previous year. The report also reflected a slowing growth in London, as it trailed the other regions of England and Wales with home-price growth of 0.2 percent last year due to a slump in prime property.

* Reuters

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