Average prices in prime central London remained flat in May but are down 6.6 per cent on the year according to Knight Frank.
The agency says the rate of price declines has eased in recent months – on a quarterly basis, average values slipped by 0.2 per cent in the three months to the end of May, compared to a 4.1 per cent decline in the final quarter of last year.
Knight Frank cautions that the political uncertainty caused by the still-undecided outcome of the hung General Election plus the start of Brexit negotiations have been added to by the news that three members of the Bank of England's rate-setting committee recently voted for an interest rate rise.
The agency says economists had not been expecting an interest rate rise until early 2019, given the relatively benign inflation rate environment up until now. “However, the recent inflation data, and the tone of the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's meeting, indicate that modest rate rises may be on the cards earlier than this” a Knight Frank statement warns.
In the country market, the latest data on prime house prices showed values were broadly flat in the year to the end of March.
In Scotland, prime values across the country dipped by 1.2 per cent in the year to March, while in Edinburgh, prime prices were up 3.0 per cent.
Meanwhile one of the higher profile buying agencies, Sourcing Property, has rebranded to reflect what it describes as its “full residential service offering”.
The agency, founded by Jo Eccles in 2006 and specialising in London zones 1 to 3 as well as high-value parts of Surrey, is changing its name to SP Property Group.
A statement from the company says its had “grown into a full residential services company providing search and acquisition, rental and relocation, property management and block management services, as well as portfolio management.”
“Many of our clients now use us for a ‘full circle’ property services and advice - we might rent them a property, then buy for them, then manage the property when they upsize or relocate, then take over the management of their block, and later on help them build a property portfolio for themselves or their children” says Eccles.
Still in the prime sector, Knight Frank has launched its 31st office outside of London - its newest branch, opened this week, is at Weybridge in Surrey.
The firm says that together with its offices in Esher and Cobham, the opening of the Weybridge branch ensures that Knight Frank - which has been working in the Elmbridge property market for over 60 years - continues its “unparalleled coverage and knowledge of the region and its diverse cross section of properties for sale and to let.”
The team in Weybridge will be led by partner and office head Adam Burlison, who moved from Savills to Knight Frank’s Cobham office in 2010. Also moving to the new office is another partner, Tim Garbett, who was instrumental in launching the Knight Frank Esher office in 1987 and who has over 35 years of experience.
“The opening of Knight Frank Weybridge consolidates our presence in the Elmbridge ‘Golden Triangle’, an area of Surrey which has always been of the utmost importance for the Knight Frank country business” says James Cleland, partner and regional head of the firm’s North Surrey division.