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U.K. Home Prices Stayed Close to Four-Year High in June

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. house prices stayed close to a 14-month high in June as strength in London and a dearth of transactions underpinned the property market, Acadametrics Ltd. said.

The average cost of a home in England and Wales fell 0.1 percent from May to 224,102 pounds ($346,000), Acadametrics and LSL Property Services Plc said in a report published in London today. Prices rose 3 percent from a year earlier, the biggest annual gain since 2010.

“The overall trend in the average house prices continues to be that of a gentle increase,” Peter Williams, chairman of Acadametrics, said in a statement. “We see the minor drop this month as merely a return to trend rather than an early warning of a more deep-seated malaise.”

The report underscores Britain’s property divide as London outpaces the rest of the country and some regions show persisting weakness. The lack of transactions, exacerbated in June by heavy rainfall and the holiday for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, may continue because of the London Olympic Games, Acadametrics said.

London home prices increased an annual 8 percent in the quarter through May, more than triple the 2.3 percent gain for England and Wales as a whole, the research group said. Half of the 10 regions tracked showed an annual decline in the period.

Acadametrics and LSL combine initial transaction data from the Land Registry and results from other price measures to produce their housing index.

Williams estimated the number of transactions at 57,000 in June, the second-lowest reading since the Land Registry began computerized records in 1995. He said the Olympic Games, which open on July 27, may disrupt housing activity further.

“The road and other travel restrictions in London will, almost certainly, curb the enthusiasm of potential buyers,” Williams said. “The events themselves will absorb leisure time, which might otherwise have been spent in visiting properties for sale. Our short-term prognosis for housing transactions is therefore one of continuing weak activity.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Stirling in London at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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